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Copyright, 1918, by 
F. H. ROBINSON, Secretary 

Published October, 191S 

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President, Baptist World Alliance 

A thrilling story is this, written by my long- 
time friend and Christian brother, Rev. Yonan 
H. Shahbaz, and entitled The Rage of Islam. 

Of this notable narrative the author and his 
estimable wife were no small part. One cannot 
know Mr. Shahbaz as I have known him, dur- 
ing many years, without admiring him and lov- 
ing him as a manly man and a sincere Chris- 

The author of this book has been wise in giv- 
ing us a reasonably full description of Persia. 
To most readers this country is largely a terra 
incognita. This land of Southwestern Asia is 
called by its inhabitants Iran. This is the na- 
tive name of Persia. The word is derived from 
the legendary history of the Persian race. It 
is given in Firdusi's " Book of Kings " (the 

viii Introduction 

Shah-Nameh) . According to this authority 
Iran and Tur are two of three brothers from 
whom the tribes Iran, Persians, and Turan, 
Turks, with their cognate tribes originally 

In the old Persian stories Turan was the land 
of darkness; it was opposed to Iran, or Asia, 
the land of light. From the name Iran, the old 
name of Persia, the whole people have been 
called Aryans. It is known to students that 
the Persians, ancient and modern, are his- 
torically among the most important of the Ira- 
nian group of the Aryan peoples. This ancient 
race played a great part in the development of 
Western Asia ; they created monuments of last- 
ing grandeur; they imposed their language on 
tribes and nations reaching from the Mediter- 
ranean Sea to the Bay of Bengal; they thus 
were in part creators of both the Occident and 
the Orient. In graphic touches Mr. Shahbaz 
has set this historical people before us with 
great clearness. 

The predominance of Mohammedanism in 
Persia is presented, with suggestive reference 

Introduction ix 

to the Parsees, the Jews, and the Nestorians. 
The Nestorian Church was once large and pros- 
perous. The Nestorians claim apostolic au- 
thority for their church. Other Christian 
churches also come under review. It seems 
strange to a student of Russia to speak of the 
Russians as deliverers and protectors. We are 
accustomed to think of the Church which they 
represent as the embodiment of intolerance and 
cruelty. But certainly in the case of Mr. Shah- 
baz and his people, the Russians were welcomed 
as deliverers. The cruelties of the predatory 
and murderous Kurds are clearly depicted. 
They are a people often marked by hospitality 
and other good qualities; but in this case the 
feral Turks robbed them of their occasional vir- 
tues and increased their fiercest barbarities. 
They are the hired thieves and murderers em- 
ployed by the savage Turks. As the Turks con- 
trol the Kurds, so the Germans control the 
Turks. The final responsibility for all, these 
atrocities of the Turks and their vassals goes 
back to the Kaiser, their master and lord. 

Lat a joy it was to Mr. Shahbaz and his 


family again to see the American flag when the 
storm was raging! It was an unspeakable 
benediction to him that he is an American citi- 
zen, and that the official representative threw 
about him and his family the protection of the 
glorious American flag. 

From the day that Mr. Shahbaz first pre- 
sented himself to me to this hour he has had a 
large place in my confidence and esteem. In a 
mission school in Persia he sought in vain from 
his teachers for full instruction from the New 
Testament regarding baptism ; in pursuance of 
this aim he went to London to find Mr. Spur- 
geon, but the great man was dead before Mr. 
Shahbaz arrived. He was then sent by deacons 
of Mr. Spurgeon's church to New York to see 
this writer. After being carefully questioned 
and otherwise tested, he was in due time bap- 
tized, September 26, 1892, into the fellowship 
of Calvary Church, New York. Under the care 
of the church his training was secured at Col- 
gate; he was ordained at this church and set 
apart, with his American wife, for mission 
work in Persia. 

Introduction xi 

Finally, in the providence of God, he was 
called upon to pass through trials not unworthy 
to be compared with those endured by the apos- 
tle Paul and others, in apostolic days, or with 
those of pagan and papal Rome. It is the hope 
and prayer of all friends of liberty and Chris- 
tianity that the recital of these trials as now 
published may advance the cause of truth and 
humanity, at home and abroad, and may honor 
the name of Christ who brought our brother, 
his wife, and all of his children but the beloved 
baby, who died as the victim of the cruelties 
experienced, off more than conquerors. 

New York, September 26 1918. 


The author of this book desires to offer his 
apologies for all errors in its composition, and 
to state that his reasons for writing it are 

A great many of my friends have asked me 
since my return to America, and after hearing 
me speak in churches or other public places, for 
details of my experience during those troublous 
months of 1915. They have also asked for spe- 
cific answers to the following questions : 

What were the Russians doing in Persia, an 
independent country? Why were the Turks 
permitted to overrun Persian territory, at a 
time when the Persian Government had defi- 
nitely assumed a neutral attitude? Why did 
not that government take effective steps to pre- 
vent the promiscuous slaughter of its peaceful 
and law-abiding Christian subjects? 

xiv Preface 

In these pages I have endeavored to answer 
these questions. 

Another object I have in view is to make it 
plain what treatment the Christian thousands 
dwelling amongst Mohammedan millions are 
obliged to endure in this twentieth century of 
civilization. Equal rights to small nations is 
a popular cry and is a just demand. Why, then, 
do not the great Christian powers cast aside 
their jealousies and see to it that these Chris- 
tian populations, of whose tribulations I write, 
are also protected, and that their Moslem rulers 
are compelled to respect their every right? 

I also wish to tender my sincerest thanks to 
all who have assisted me in the compilation of 
this book, and to those authors from whose 
standard works I have been enabled to glean 
valuable historical and chronological informa- 


Chapter Page 

I. The Peaceful Plain 1 

II. Pre-Russian Condition of Chris- 
tians 29 

III. The Storm-clouds 49 

IV. The Cloudburst 65 

V. Fleeing from the Storm 85 

VI. The Shelter from the Storm 101 

VII. From Storm-center to Liberty 

Land 145 

Index 177 



Yonan H. Shahbaz Frontispiece 

Map of Northwestern Persia U 

Kurdish Lady from Plain 18 

Nestorians from the Plain . 2U 

Persian Anjuman 88 

Assemblage of Kurds 58 

Mrs. Shahbaz 76 

Gathering Grapes 88 

General View of a Section of Urmia 96 

Street in Urmia 126 

Kala Ismail Agha, or Castle of Ismail 13 U 

Russian Soldiers 150 

Nestorians from the Mountains 170 



Its Geography 

The Urmian plain, the district in which the oc- 
currences herein related took place, occupies a 
central-western position, on an elevated pla- 
teau, in the province of Azerbaijan, north- 
western Persia. The region was once called by 
the natives Dar-el-Safa, or Gate of Pleasure, 
and has often been named by American and 
European travelers " The Paradise of Persia." 
It deserves the title, for it is a fair stretch of 
level land, sixty miles long and thirty wide in 
its extreme dimensions, and covered from end 
to end with fields of grain, orchards, vineyards, 
and beautiful gardens, and dotted over with a 
thousand towns and villages, with the city of 
Urmia as its central feature. 


The Rage of Islam 

On the west this level expanse is bounded by 
the Kurdish mountains of eastern Turkey, 
spurs of which extend, on the north and the 
south, to the eastward, thus shutting in the 
level lands, whose eastern boundary is Lake 
Urmia, a body of water about ninety miles in 
length by thirty in extreme width, as salt as, or 
more so than, the Dead Sea. The lake is devoid 
of fish, but its banks are so frequented by wild 
fowl, especially duck and flamingo, that the 
shores are often whitened for miles by their 
presence. The imposing branches of the Kurd- 
ish range sweep down quite to the waters of the 
lake. The plain is well watered by three con- 
siderable rivers, besides many small streams. 
Its soil is extremely fertile and under a high 
state of cultivation. Its climate is hardly ex- 
celled by that of any other portion of the globe. 
The irrigation canals are shaded by a great 
variety of trees, among which are all kinds of 
fruit trees; the ditches carry water in abun- 
dance throughout the region. 

Its staple products are wheat, rice, cotton, 
maize, beans, barley, most delicious melons, 

The Peaceful Plain 

gourds, potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, capsi- 
cum, chilis, brinjals, lady fingers, castor-oil (for 
burning), madder, salsify, scorzonera, celery, 
oil seeds of various sorts, opium, and tobacco. 
The orchards are full of trees which merit the 
epithet " noble." 

Noble, indeed, are the walnuts, and beautiful 
are the apricots, apples, peaches, pears, and 
plums. Glorious are the vineyards with their 
thirty-five or forty different varieties of grapes, 
their foliage, like that of the deciduous trees, 
passing away in scarlet and gold at the season 
when nature has perfected her work and rests. 
It is autumn in its glory, but without its gloom. 

About ten miles from the lake, and two miles 
from the spurs and foothills of the mountains 
to the westward, lies the city of Urmia. This 
metropolis was known as the ancient The- 
barma, the birthplace, as tradition has it, of 
Zoroaster, the founder of the ancient sect of 
fire-worshipers; a tradition rendered more 
credible, perhaps, from the fact that there are, 
on different parts of the plain, a number of arti- 
ficial mounds, each covering a large area, and 

The Rage of Islam 

rising to a height of a hundred feet or more. 
These are vast piles of ashes, from sacrificial 
and funeral fires, accumulated during the lapse 
of centuries under the perpetual fires before 
which the Zoroastrians made adoration. This, 
at least, is the explanation given by the Persian 
people for the presence of these monuments. 
The town of Geogtapa, where the author re- 
sided, is built in part upon the slope of one of 
these ash-hills. 

Urmia is surrounded by a thousand towns 
and villages scattered about the plain in every 
direction. There are practically no shops or 
bazaars in any of these minor towns; conse- 
quently the inhabitants obtain their supplies of 
almost every description from the city which, 
with its numerous large markets and bazaars, 
is amply able to satisfy the wants and needs of 
all. There being no railroads, no tram-lines, 
few carriages or carts, most of the people walk 
to the city from their respective dwelling- 
places, often two or three days' foot journey 
distant. On every road or trail one sees a con- 
tinuous procession of camels, donkeys, mules, 

The Peaceful Plain 

horses, and pedestrians coming to or going 
from the city, animals and people alike loaded 
with merchandise of every description. Those 
bound for the market are laden with the prod- 
ucts of the country — fruit, fuel, vegetables, 
carpets, foodstuffs, etc. Those traveling home- 
ward bear their purchases from the bazaars. 
One sees, also, long caravans of horses, mules, 
or camels, which take the place of freight- 
trains. These caravans are bringing to Urmia 
the products of European and of other Oriental 
lands, consigned to the merchants and traders 
of the city. 

The population of Urmia proper is estimated 
at about one hundred thousand. The city is 
more than four miles in circumference, and, like 
other cities of Persia, is surrounded by a mud 
wall about fifty feet in average height, with 
several large towers. This wall is pierced by 
seven gates. Most of the houses are built of 
unburned brick, but there are many of a good 
quality of burned brick. The streets are wider 
than is common in Eastern towns, and there is 
an agreeable air of comfort, enhanced by the 

8 The Rage of Islam 

great prodigality of beautiful shade trees about 
the grounds surrounding the dwellings. 

This is the section of country that was at- 
tacked by the Turks and Kurds in 1915. This 
beautiful plateau, two thousand square miles of 
garden and vineyard, village and town, with a 
bustling city as its center, prosperous and 
thriving, supporting an industrious population, 
a considerable percentage of the Christian 
faith, where forethought, good example, and 
honorable dealing on the part of the latter for 
more than a generation had produced, first, 
toleration, and later, respect from their Mo- 
hammedan neighbors, rested at the beginning 
of the year in a profound peace. No thought 
of the clash of arms in Europe disturbed its 
apparent security. Scarcely one of its inhabi- 
tants was aware of the far-reaching, insidious 
propaganda of the remote government of the 

True, the frowning heights of the Kurdistan 
Mountains were a constant reminder of the 
proximity of those nomadic Kurdish tribes — 
bloodthirsty, cruel, conscienceless — occupying 

The Peaceful Plain 

the hills to the west. The outrages and massa- 
cres of former years were not forgotten, but 
there was no anticipation of a repetition of 
these horrors of the past. Why should there 
be? The hundreds of thousands who tilled the 
soil, trafficked, bought and sold, and enjoyed the 
pleasures and products of this rich and fertile 
land, where fruits and flowers grew and blos- 
somed in greatest abundance and prodigality, 
heard but the faintest echo of the thunders of 
war, far, far away. (Truly a land of the rose and 
the vine, where every prospect pleases.) Even 
under the mantle of winter snows its promises 
of the coming spring and harvest were obvious. 
Yet never was the trite saying more apt: The 
trail of the serpent lay over it all. 

Having drawn a brief outline sketch of the 
scene wherein those events which form the 
principal topic of this book took place, the 
writer begs permission to digress, and to give 
the reader some idea of 'the races which con- 
stituted the population of this region and the 
countries adjacent. 

10 The Rage of Islam 

The Earlier Inhabitants 

Such knowledge as we possess of the earlier 
Persians is almost entirely derived from philo- 
logical research, and from the Zend-Avesta, the 
sacred book of the Zoroastrian religion pro- 
fessed by the Persians up to the time of the 
Mohammedan conquest in the seventh century 
of our era. The Avesta tells us scarcely any- 
thing in relation to Zoroaster; and the tradi- 
tions regarding him, preserved by classical 
writers, are not to be relied upon. He seems to 
have flourished about 600 B. C, and to have 
been a religious reformer seeking to purify the 
ancient Aryan faith from the corruptions in- 
ducted into it by either the Scythians or the 
Assyrians. Zoroastrianism is a dualism, the 
supreme good deity being Hormuzd, and the 
evil spirit Ahriman. Great importance is at- 
tached to fire (Atar) which is described as the 
son of 'Hormuzd and the most powerful an- 
tagonist of Ahriman. The adoration of fire as 
a symbol, at a later period, under the influence 
of the Magi of Media, priests of the old Scyth- 

The Peaceful Plain 11 

ian nature-worship, led to the " fire-worship " 
which is popularly identified with Zoroaster. 
But not without a struggle. The favor shown 
by Cyrus to the Jews is attributed by some to 
his faith in one God, in contrast with the idola- 
try of Babylon. The usurper, Gomates, a 
Magian priest who succeeded Cambyses, the 
son of Cyrus, abolished the Persian cult and 
substituted the fire-altars of the Magi ; and he 
it was who reversed the policy of Cyrus toward 
the Jews, and forbade the building of the tem- 
ple. (Ezra 4.) 

But the two religions seem gradually to have 
coalesced; and fire-worship is perpetuated to 
this day in the ritual of the Parsees of Bombay, 
the chief modern representatives of Zoroas- 

This cult, which the kings of the Sassanian 
dynasty raised to its highest level of power, 
was in its turn swept away by the Mohammedan 
conquest in the seventh century. From that 
time to the present Persia has been a Moham- 
medan country. There are now no more than 
fifteen thousand Zoroastrians (Gebres as they 

12 The Rage of Islam 

are called) in the country, most of them in or 
near the town of Yezd. In India there are at 
present one hundred thousand Parsees, nearly- 
all of whom live in Bombay. 

The Mohammedans 

There are two great and powerful sects of 
the followers of Mohammed: the Sunnis, or 
orthodox party, who hold that the first three 
caliphs, Abu-Bekr, Omar, and Osman, right- 
fully succeeded Mohammed; and the Shiahs, 
who believe that Ali, who married Mohammed's 
daughter, Fatima or Fat'ma, was the prophet's 
legitimate successor, and that the three caliphs 
mentioned, who held the reins of power after 
Mohammed's death, and for a long time kept 
Ali from the caliphate, were usurpers. The 
Shiahs also claim that Hussain and Hassan, 
the sons of Ali, who were killed while fight- 
ing for their rights, were martyrs. The Per- 
sian Mohammedans are Shiahs, and go on pil- 
grimage to the tombs of Ali and his sons at 
Nedjef and Kerbala, in the Euphrates valley. 

The Peaceful Plain 13 

But most of the nomads, found in the north- 
ern provinces of Persia, the Kurds of the west- 
ern provinces, and the Turks and Arabs are 
Sunnis, as are the majority of Mohammedans 
throughout the world. 

The Kurds 

Shedders of blood, raisers of strife, seekers after tur- 
moil and uproar, robbers and brigands. A people all 
malignant; evil-doers of depraved habits; ignorant of 
all mercy, devoid of all humanity, scorning the garment 
of wisdom; but a brave race and fearless, of a hospi- 
tality grateful to the soul. In truth and in humor un- 
equalled, of pleasing countenance and fair cheek, boast- 
ing of all goods of beauty and grace. 1 

Kurdistan, their country, is one of those 
names which you may find on the map without 
any dotted lines or other marks to define their 
boundaries. The word simply means " coun- 
try of the Kurds." 

The Kurds are very little known; within 
recent years they have probably never come 
before the eyes of the world except in their 

1 " Buston us-Shiah/'-p. 459. 

14 The Rage of Islam 

traditional character of rapacious and furious 
fiends. Fantastic figures of savagery, peering 
out from impregnable mountain fastnesses, 
and carrying destruction before them; sl ayin g 
Christians; resisting all efforts by princes or 
powers to subdue or even coerce them. 

Of their origin less is known than of any other race 
in the East. Some historians think that they are de- 
scended from the ancient Medes, but we know only that 
the Medes were swallowed up by the Persians and lost 
their nationality ; and we know no more of them. 

The Persian legend has it that the Kurds are the de- 
scendants of those young men who were saved from 
the voracity of the infernal serpent offspring of the 
monster Zohek, of Persian mythology. These serpents 
were fed upon human brains at the devil's suggestion, 
and were deceived by having the brains of goats substi- 
tuted for those of the two youths who were to become 
progenitors of the Kurdish race. Another, and less- 
known, legend is that Solomon sent for four hundred 
virgins from the East; these virgins having arrived 
in the country now designated as Kurdistan, were de- 
flowered by the devils dwelling therein, whereupon 
Solomon resigned them to the devils, and the offspring 
were called Kurds. 

These nomadic people are undoubtedly the 
Carduchi of Xenophon, mentioned in the re- 
treat of the ten thousand, and have remained in 

The Peaceful Plain 15 

a condition of semiindependence from the ear- 
liest time. (Living on the borders of Persia and 
Turkey, they are in subjection to neither gov- 
ernment, and can, as occasion requires, for 
purposes of either plunder or of escape from 
punishment, move quickly from one territory 
to the otherJ There are two divisions of 
Kurds; some are permanent dwellers in towns 
and villages; others live in the villages during 
the winter and roam the mountains with their 
flocks and herds the remainder of the year. 

Their language is akin to the Persian; it is 
rarely written, the Persian being the literary 
language of the Kurds of Persia; the Arabic, 
or Osmanli Turkish, the tongue of those living 
in Turkey. Few of them can either read or 
write. There are a number of dialectical dif- 
ferences corresponding to the separate dis- 
tricts. Most of the Kurds are shepherds, al- 
though some are farmers by occupation and 
warrior s by profession. Yet a few live in the 
larger towns, such as Souj-Boulak, Sena, and 
other cities, and are engaged in merchandising 
and the trades. 

16 The Rage of Islam 


Kurds are Sunnis, but only nominally, for 
they are for the most part entirely unac- 
quainted with Mohammedanism, and scarcely 
observe its slightest external forms. ) They do 
not even abstain from forbidden food, and 
many go so far as to satisfy their appetites 
with the flesh of swine. 

A Kurd, who one day had entered with f ree- 
dom into conversation with an Englishman, 
observed that for his part he thought the re- 
ft Ky$4<,Kgion of his tribe resembled that of the Franks 
(Europeans) more than that of the Persians. 
" How so ? " inquired the Englishman. " Why," 
replied the other, "we eat hog's flesh, drink 
wine, keep no fasts, and say no prayers." He 
had observed no public acts of worship among 
the British, and imagined that they never per- 
formed any. 

Their religious leaders are called sheiks, and 
the people have very great faith in them, be- 
lieving that the sheiks have a special divine 
inspiration, and that God communicates with 
them directly, and that they, therefore, are 
cognizant of almost everything that is happen- 

The Peaceful Plain 17 

ing. One sees the people coming to these lead- 
ers with presents in hand, wishing to know the 
whereabouts of their lost animals; others, to 
find out where lost property is concealed, or 
expressing a wish to discover the thief. Still 
others come who are ill or childless. All go 
away satisfied with a written prayer or a pill, 
as the sheik may prescribe. Others look upon 
the sheik as a mediator, and through his merits 
expect to obtain forgiveness of sins. They 
often attribute to the sheik, even when absent, 
power to assist and benefit. It is the sheik's 
duty to administer to both body and soul, as 
well as to settle lawsuits and to take the field 
as leader in battle. 

Whether the Kurds live in villages or towns, 
their hearts yearn for all that belongs to the 
open field. The boldest spirits long for prey 
and spoil, and gladly seize whatever plunder 
fortune may throw into their hands. The wan- 
dering hordes glory in the name plunderers, 
but resent the appellation of thief. The differ- 
ence is obvious; robbery implies an open and 
successful exertion of strength; stealing is a 

18 The Rage of Islam 

consciousness of weakness. Next to being en- 
gaged in scenes of pillage, they love to recount 
those they have witnessed and to boast of most 
atrocious deeds as heroic and praiseworthy. 
" I happened, one day," says Sir John Malcolm, 
" when on the march to Sultanieh, to ask a chief 
of one of the tribes, ' What ruins are those upon 
the right of our road ? ' His eyes glistened at 
the question. ' It is more than twenty years/ 
said he, ' since I accompanied my uncle upon a 
night attack for the purpose of plundering and 
destroying that very village. It has never been 
rebuilt. Its inhabitants, who are a bad race 
and our enemies, have settled near it and are 
again grown rich. I trust to God that these 
days of tranquillity will soon be over, and if 
old times return I shall have another blow at 
these gentlemen before I die/ " 

The Kurds, from north to south, are monoga- 
mous, and a family seldom exceeds three or 
four. The wife has remarkable freedom, and 
does not wear a veil like Persian or Turkish 
women. Kurdish women are a fine class; un- 
affected, brave, deserving as much praise for 


The Peaceful Plain 19 

their domestic qualities as for the physical 
beauty so often theirs. Many are fine, bold 
riders, and can handle a rifle, and among the 
more warlike tribes the women join in the fray. 
The Kurdish name is found in almost every 
place connected with robb ery and destruction . 
No matter where he is living, in a flat country 
or in the mountains, in villages or in cities, 
everywhere he is the same. A good gun and a 
good horse are his greatest desires. He is 
willing and ready to trade even his wife for a 
good gun. He is willing to risk his life in 
order to rob a man of a gun in the other's pos- 

The Kurds are fatalists; they believe that 
their hour of birth was preordained, as is the 
day of their death ; nothing can alter it. They 
are the dogs of the Turks, who depute to them 
their dirty work. The Turks set them^on, 
and the task of outrage and rapine is per- 
formed. Their number is in excess of two mil- 
lion ; more than one-half live in Turkish terri- 
tory, the rest in Persia, with a scattered few in 
Russian Transcaucasia. There are several 

20 The Rage of Islam 

leading tribes among the many; the more 
powerful have seldom acknowledged any gov- 
ernment ; some, like Hackery, have maintained 
entire independence. 

The Nestorian Christians 

The parts west of Lake Urmia, and especially 
the districts of Urmia and Salmas, are occupied 
by a Christian population, generally known as 

Nestorias, from whom the sect derives its name, was 
born and educated in Syria, was an elder at Antioch, 
and was made Bishop of Constantinople, A. D. 428. 
Being bishop of the seat of empire made him conspicu- 
ous. His boldness in attempting to correct some popu- 
lar superstitions drew upon him the envy and hostility 
of contemporary bishops, particularly of the ambitious 
Cyril, then bishop of Alexandria. Arraigned for al- 
leged heresy, Nestorias was excommunicated at Ephe- 
sus by the third general council in A. D. 431, only three 
years after his elevation to the see of the renowned 
capital. First banished, for a time, to Arabia, and sub- 
sequently transferred to the Oasis of Libya, he finally 
died in Upper Egypt. He was excommunicated on the 
charge that he refused to apply to the Virgin Mary the 
title " Mother of God." 

His cause, being by many regarded as that of an in- 
jured and persecuted man, created extensive sympathy 

The Peaceful Plain 21 

and found numerous and efficient advocates. It was 
warmly espoused by his countrymen in the East, par- 
ticularly in a celebrated Syrian school in Edessa 
(modern Orfah) in Mesopotamia, in which a great 
number of Christian youths were at that time educated. 
The first Christian sect, thus severed from the gen- 
eral church, by prejudice and oppression, taking firm 
root in that central position, spread rapidly in all direc- 
tions. It soon became powerful, especially in Persia, 
and through all its vicissitudes has remained perma- 
nent from that day to this in some of the regions now 
occupied by its adherents. 

The Nestorians are at present a small but 
venerable remnant of a once great and influ- 
ential Christian church. They are the oldest 
of the Christian sects, and in their better days 
were numerous through all the vast regions 
from Palestine to China. They carried the 
gospel into China itself. Their history is a 
checkered one. Sometimes, as under the toler- 
ant policy of the mighty Genghis Khan, they 
were raised to high places in camp and court; 
while at others, as by the crushing arm of 
Timour (Timour Lang, Timour the lame) , they 
were cut down and swept away until scarce a 
vestige remained save in certain mountain fast- 
nesses. "But in both prosperity and in ad- 

22 The Rage of Islam 

versity, during more than twelve hundred years 
of their history, they furnish the brightest ex- 
amples of per^vgrjjjigjgil and self -denial, and 
often of heroic martyrdom, cheerfully encoun- 
tered in the profession and zealous promulga- 
tion of the gospel, to be found in the record of 
Christianity since the days of the apostles." 

Although they are known as " Nestorians," 
the term is but a nickname given them by their 
enemies, and there is no reason why we should 
use a name which attaches to a people the 
stigma of an ancient heresy. A part of them 
live in Turkey, a part in Persia. In the latter 
country they occupy the rich province of Azer- 
baijan, in our Urmian plain. The date of their 
settlement in this district is unknown, but 
Urmia is mentioned as early as the eleventh 
century as the see of a Nestorian bishop. But 
the majority of them reside in the Kurdistan 
mountains, on Turkish soil, mainly in wild and 
extremely rough territory. In these places 
they have dwelt along with the uncivilized 
Kurds from a very early period, and in some 
instances they live exactly the same as their 

The Peaceful Plain 23 

Kurdish neighbors, whose dress they have 
adopted, and against whom they are quite able 
to hold their own under ordinary conditions. 
Like the Kurds, they are broken up into tribes. 
They have an hereditary patriarch, who bears 
the title of Mar Shimun (Saint Peter) , and who 
makes the same claim to spiritual infallibility 
as does the pope of Rome. He resides at Ko- 
chanis, far up the Zab valley, where his people 
are well able to protect him from incursions on 
the part of the Kurds. 

These Christians are also called Chaldeans, a 
designation which is applied to those of the 
Nestorians who have been converted to the 
Roman Catholic belief, principally during the 
last century. Most of these Catholics are to be 
found in and about the valley of Mesopotamia. 
The title " Chaldeans " was given them by the 
pope. Another name for Nestorians is " Saint 
Thomas Christians." They refer to Thomas 
of the apostles as having been associated with 
Adai (Thaddeus) and Mari (of the number of 
the seventy) . The oral traditions and ancient 
writings of Nestorian scribes are unanimous in 

24 The Rage of Islam 

support of this opinion. Several of the Chris- 
tian Fathers inform us that Thomas traveled 
eastward into India, preaching as he advanced. 
The people were converted and called by his 
name. Moslems in Persia call them Nas-ra-ni 
or MiVlat i Nasara, meaning followers of the 
lowly Jesus of Nazareth. Those of the English 
mission are referred to as Englisi; those of the 
American missions as Americani; those ad- 
hering to the Russian church as Orthodoxayi. 
Some call them Assyrians; the majority prefer 
this cognomen to the others, as the country they 
now occupy was a part of ancient Assyria. 
There are about ten thousand in the United 
States ; two newspapers, one in New York and 
one in Chicago, are published in their tongue, 
the Syriac. Both these publications refer to 
them as Assyrians. Yet amongst themselves, 
in the mountains of the Kurdish ranges and on 
the plains of Azerbaijan, they assume the name 
Su-ra-yi, i. e., Syrians. In these localities the 
language they use is modern Syriac, derived 
from the ancient Syriac, just as modern Greek 
is derived from ancient Greek. 

v> f 

m \ 

P " m. rffcfcp: 


ft ,*\ ^ 

1 f4* 



1 J^S#v. 


The Peaceful Plain 25 

No matter whether they were Assyrians, Chaldeans, 
or what not, it is now 2,500 years since the Assyrian 
nation was broken up, and but little less since the sec- 
ond Chaldaic period was brought to an end by Alex- 
ander the Great. Since then these people have been in 
subjection to alien rulers. Their powerful and tena- 
cious nature has won for them a premier place in the 
civil life of all ages, and is to-day the means of furnish- 
ing a great part of Western Asia with a class of mer- 
chants and villagers far higher in the scale of civiliza- 
tion and culture than the people among whom they live. 

A fair estimate of the number of Nestorians 
in Turkey and Persia, previous to the recent 
massacres, is two hundred thousand. As indi- 
cated by the foregoing, it will be seen that Per- 
sia, in comparison with other lands, has a very 
small Christian population. 

Modern missions were first established in the 
sixteenth century by Roman Catholic fathers, 
and there are in the neighborhood of eight to 
ten thousand adherents of that faith. The ear- 
liest Protestant missionaries were Moravians, 
who came in 1747, their special purpose being 
to labor among the Parsees. Owing to the 
disturbed condition of the country they were 
unable to remain. The first permanent Prot- 

26 The Rage of Islam 

estant mission was established by Rev. Justin 
Perkins and Dr. Asahel Grant, in 1835; these 
gentlemen had in view the winning of the Nes- 
torians to the evangelical church. Some twenty- 
years ago the author, a native of Persia and 
educated in an American college, returned to 
his home as a Baptist missionary ; the first one 
known since the days of the apostles. The total 
number of Protestants in 1914 was estimated 
at three thousand communicants and ten thou- 
sand adherents. A few years ago the Russian 
Orthodox Church sent priests to Urmia, who 
established a mission. They claimed to have 
sixty thousand members. 

It is greatly to be regretted that the different 
Christian societies in Persia are not and never 
*f were on friendly terms. Although the numbers 
for whom they labor were but small, each so- 
ciety had its own representative at the Persian 
court, to plead the cause of his particular ad- 
herents. At times the bitterness was so great 
that various factions have actually fought to- 
gether to the point of inflicting wounds upon 
one another. On such occasions they were 

The Peaceful Plain 27 

forced to appear before Mohammedan judges 
who fined them heavily. 

The Mohammedans were, of course, pleased 
to see the Christians fighting one another. In 
the towns the latter were always at variance; 
each sect claimed that the others had no right 
to be there, and they opposed one another with 
great animosity. Each despised the other, very 
often on the mere ground that one had been the 
longer in the country. These bitter and out- 
rageous feelings have been held for years, 
many years. The complaints were transmitted 
from one generation to the next. Alas! one 
may see a similar condition of affairs among 
them in this country, where a difference of re- 
ligious opinion, often of smallest consequence, 
leads to open breach and a reign of hate. (How 
vastly better it would be if their petty religious 
jealousies were made to give way to a grand 
unity of thought, a part of the fine feeling of 
national patriotism. ) 

The author has an earnest hope that some ar- 
rangement may be made, through American 
Christians, whereby a much more effective 

28 The Rage of Islam 

work may be carried on among Oriental peo- 
ples. There are means which, if adopted, 
would accomplish a great deal toward the 
evangelization of the followers of Mohammed. 
But it is an almost insurmountable task for 
American or European missionaries. It be- 
longs more properly to the natives of those 
lands; to those who are akin to them in 
customs, characters, and habits of thought. 
" Orientals to Orientals." 

It is really pitiable that native talent and 
understanding, of which there is a plentiful 
supply, is not utilized to a much greater extent 
to prosecute a work practically beyond the 
powers of Occidentals. In more than one in- 
stance Persian youths of great promise have 
been prevented from giving scope to their abili- 
ties, although without question they could and 
would have accomplished much if given an 





The ruling powers of this country, being Mo- 
hammedan, oppress their Christian subjects in 
the most cruel manner, treating them very 
often worse than slaves. As a rule, the Chris- 
tians live in towns, or in rural communities, by 
themselves, although in some instances in the 
same village with Mohammedans ; but they are 
always surrounded by Moslems. The land- 
lords, or aghas, of the villages are usually Mos- 
lems, who govern their tenantry in something 
of a feudal style. As land is a favorite invest- 
ment in Persia, and as the Mohammedan land- 
owner is very tenacious of his holdings, the 
aghaship of a village commands a high price, 
enhanced by the fact that the Christian tenant 
is an industrious person. The tenant has to 
D 31 

32 The Rage of Islam, 

pay for the privilege of building a house on 
land belonging to the landlord, and therefore 
becomes a sort of vassal of the latter. 

In addition to the payment of ground-rent, 
he must pay a tax for every female buffalo (the 
commonest beast of burden for farm work), 
for every cow, for every ewe, and for every she- 
goat. He must pay to the agha from one-half 
to two-thirds of all the produce of his farm. 
Besides a poll-tax, his hay-fields, his vineyard, 
and his fruit trees are all taxed. Nor is this 
all, for since he is practically at the mercy of 
his landlord, the latter may require three days* 
labor from each of his rayats without pay. In 
reality he forces them to devote as much of 
their time to him as he may see fit. He receives 
from each householder a load of fuel, so many 
eggs, three fowls, and a fee on the occasion of 
every marriage. Besides this, every house 
must pay to the ser per est, the Mohammedan 
governor of Christian communities, a load of 
wood. No favors are granted without some 
sort of payment being first made. The master 
sells his tenants grain and flour at a price above 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 33 

the market. He ties them up and beats them 
for slight offenses. He carries off the most 
beautiful of the Christian girls for his harem. 
To all this and more the poor peasant must sub- 
mit for fear of worse persecution if he dares to 

Across the border, in Turkey, the peasants 
sometimes own the land, otherwise they are 
tenants of the agha. In either case their condi- 
tion is deplorable, for they have no rights that 
a Turk or Kurd is bound to respect. In some 
of the villages they have been robbed until they 
are absolutely without the means of paying 
taxes; then they are beaten until the fact of 
their inability to pay is established beyond dis- 
pute. Squeezed between the rapacity and vio- 
lence of the Kurds and the exactions of the 
Turkish officials (who connive at outrage so 
long as the victims are Christian) , their condi- 
tion is the most pitiable conceivable. 

They have no representatives in the cities of 
Europe or Asia. Hemmed in by mountain 
ranges, they are at the mercy of their oppres- 
sors. Without leaders, advisers, or friends; 

34 The Rage of Islam 

rarely visited by travelers; with no voice that 
can reach Europe ; with a present of intolerable 
bondage and a future without light, yet 
through it all they cling passionately to the 
faith received by tradition from their fathers. 

The following incident will illustrate the 
manner in which they keep their faith under 
terrible persecution: 

A deacon of a Nestorian church stopped at a certain 
village, lodging, according to custom, in the chief's 
house. When he had supped a servant summoned him 
to attend the lady of the house. In great surprise he 
followed the messenger. He was led into the presence 
of an old woman who fairly wept with joy at sight of 
him, the first Christian she had seen during sixty years 
of captivity. She had been taken captive during the 
great raid of 1845, and had been made a scullion in the 
house of her master. By sheer force of character and 
personal honesty, she had raised herself to the position 
of mistress of the house, in which capacity all were 
agreed that she had been a blessing, r jor had s& a^ce- 
laxed her Christian observances during all those years 
"in the household of a Moslem, but carefully kept the 
Sabbath and the fast-days of her sect, /having secured 
from the deacon a morsel of bread blessed at the Eu- 
charist, without which no Nestorian sets out on a jour- 
ney, she bade her visitor adieu, confident of possessing 
the blessing of the church against the time when her 
soul should be required of her. \ 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 35 

The Coming of the Russians 

The Russian Government has been con- 
stantly endeavoring to follow the program 
which Peter the Great mapped out for Russia 
many years ago. One of the items of this pro- 
gram was that they must find an outlet to the 
Persian Gulf; and they have always been work- 
ing toward that end. Persia has been a center 
of European politics for more than a century. 
The writings of Sir John Malcolm show that 
more than a hundred years ago England and 
France were working, tooth and nail, to gain 
the favor of the shah-in-shah. The Persians 
were crafty enough to get money and gifts 
from both parties. As the years rolled by Rus- 
sia began to gain in power, and France gradu- 
ally withdrew from the contest. The rivalry 
between England and Russia increased. En- 
gland must keep an eye on Persia to protect 
her Indian Empire. Her way she must have, or 
foil others. This state of affairs lasted for 
many years, each country sending its shrewdest 
diplomats to the Persian court. 

36 The Rage of Islam 

Nasr-ed-Din Shah died in 1896 ; his son, Mu- 
zaffar-ed-Din, was proclaimed ruler. He was a 
good man, but a weak ruler, and very unlike his 
father. During his reign Persia became a 
debtor nation; Muzaffar not only spent the 
large accumulations inherited from his father, 
but borrowed money from Russia, England, and 
the two foreign banks of Teheran ; sums equiva- 
lent to twenty million dollars. Most of this 
money was spent on journeys to Europe. Mu- 
zaffar was beloved by his people, yet he uncon- 
sciously drove his country into bankruptcy. 

During his reign a demand was made by the 
people for a better government, one of the de- 
mands being for the dismissal of the prime 
minister, whose quarrels with the priesthood 
were the root of the trouble. 

In all Mohammedan countries the clergy has 
much to say relative to governmental affairs. 
The mullahs went in large numbers from one 
holy place to another, inciting the people to 
action. The bazaars of Teheran were closed 
for a time, this being one of the simplest and 
most common forms of protest in Persia. They 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 37 

were again opened by the prime minister. 
Public gatherings were organized in support of 
the grievances, and at one of these a say id (de- 
scendant of the prophet) was shot. Agitation 
grew in intensity, but the government finally 
subdued the mobs. Fifty mullahs and mer- 
chants went to the British legation for bast 
(protection) , and were followed by others until 
the number reached fourteen thousand. Why 
they went they scarcely knew, their purpose 
being vague. Finally some one made use of the 
word mashruteh (constitution). Then others 
began to explain its meaning to the multitude. 
Great interest was displayed; once aroused, it 
spread throughout the province. Soon a consti- 
tution was demanded. Through the influence 
of the British minister this was promised by 
the authorities, the bastis were satisfied and 
returned to their homes. 

But the hated prime minister came back 
again, and the shah refused to sign the regula- 
tions for the assembly. Then negotiations be- 
tween the Russian and British representatives 
began, and for the first time the nations co- 

38 The Rage of Islam 

operated, taking measures which issued in ma- 
terial form a year later by the signing of an 
Anglo-Russian agreement. While things were 
thus at a half-way stage, Muzaffar-ed-Din died, 
January 8, 1907, and his son, Mohammed Ali, 
was crowned shah, January 19, 1907. All 
Europe was now interested at the prospect of 
an Anglo-Russian rapprochement, and there 
was talk of a division of Persia into spheres of 
influence as an item among the terms of a pos- 
sible definite arrangement between the two 

This very thing made the Persians sus- 
picious, and developed an intense jealousy of 
everything and everybody of foreign blood, ir- 
respective of nationality. All non-Mohamme- 
dans, in every part of the country, suffered per- 
secution; Christians, Jews, and Parsees were 
murdered. A number of secret societies were 
organized, called anjumans. They formed a 
sort of Tammany, corrupt motives being the 
mainspring. The situation in the provinces 
went from bad to worse; anarchy became su- 
preme; robbery and murder were unchecked. 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 39 

The national mejliss (parliament) and the 
king were far apart. Fighting took place be- 
tween the shah's followers and the nationalists. 
Many were killed on both sides. At last the 
Russians stepped in, with a thousand Cossacks 
and heavy artillery, under an eminent general. 
They sided with the monarch; the parliament 
buildings were destroyed; order was estab- 
lished, and the Russian general was made gov- 
ernor of Teheran. For about a month there- 
after comparative quiet reigned. Then the 
shah, ascertaining who most of his opponents 
were, destroyed them. Tabriz, the second larg- 
est city in Persia, was in a turmoil. Rioting 
took place ; more fighting occurred between the 
governmental forces and the nationalists. 
Foreigners were handled roughly; Russia and 
England worked in harmony. An alarm was 
spread to the effect that the local national as- 
sembly was planning an attack upon all for- 
eigners unless the powers intervened. At this 
juncture the Cossacks on the border were or- 
dered to Tabriz, and their appearance acted like 
oil on troubled waters. All Persian factions 

40 The Rage of Islam 

immediately made peace with one another. In 
answer to the question as to what right En- 
gland or Russia had to interfere with Persia 
when she was engaged in a civil war, the reply 
was that they proposed to protect, at all costs, 
the lives and property of foreigners and Chris- 
tians. The Russian troops now occupied all the 
larger centers in northern Persia. This ac- 
counts for their presence in Urmia at the out- 
break of the present war in 1914. 

The Christian people of northern Persia had 
been hoping and looking for the advent of the 
Russians for many years; in fact, for more 
than a century. I have heard old men say that 
they wished they might live long enough to see 
the Russians. Indeed, their coming was the 
commencement of a new era in the lives of 
these persecuted, downtrodden, and despised 
Christians. So great was the change that it 
was noticed in a short time. Like the seed 
placed under a stone in the ground and left 
there, the Christians were suppressed in 
growth by their taskmasters. The Russians 
lifted the stone, and the Christians quickly in- 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 41 

creased in prosperity and strength. Many 
changes were made by landlords in the reduc- 
tion of taxes. A large number of the people 
registered as members of the Russian Orthodox 
Church. No doubt some of these were in sym- 
pathy with the tenets of this sect, but the ma- 
jority had different motives; they desired to 
get rid of the load under which their backs 
had bent, and the most effective plan, according 
to their ideas, was to join the Greek Church. 

In that way they secured the championship 
of the Russian bishop, at the time a very vio- 
lent man, and through him of the Russian con- 
sul, and finally of the Russian Government. 
The landlords were stripped of their former 
power; the prosperity of their tenants in- 
creased accordingly. The well-to-do built large 
and handsome residences outside the walls of 
the cities. 

In a few years the crooked Oriental town of 
Urmia became a modern European city, some 
of its streets really beautiful. Rich merchants 
erected modern shops, and brought great quan- 
tities of European goods to display on their 

42 The Rage of Islam 

shelves. They were much more ambitious than 
the Mohammedans and more progressive. The 
Christian section was kept neat and clean ; doc- 
tors increased in numbers and skill ; a number 
of Christian schools were opened, and the Rus- 
sians saw to it that they were protected. The 
author opened a school for Mohammedan girls 
in Urmia; in a few months it was closed by 
order of the Persian governor. The author, be- 
ing an American citizen, complained to the 
Russian consul, who immediately wrote the 
official, who instantly surrendered the key, and 
the school was reopened and conducted without 
further difficulties. Thanks are due to the Rus- 
sians. Some of the wealthier Christians now 
became landlords. The Christians, learning of 
the distress of Christian residents of the terri- 
tory affected by the Turko-Balkan war, quickly 
collected the sum of ten thousand dollars and 
sent it as a relief fund. 

Mohammedan Animosity 

There are great varieties of singular religions prac- 
tices and superstitions amongst the Persian Mohamme- 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 43 

dans. Their law of clean and unclean meats is copied 
after that of the Jews. Oysters, lobsters, hare, and 
pork are all abominable. According to their strict no- 
tions, it is pollution for a Christian to enter the house 
of a Mohammedan. The touch of a Christian makes 
food unclean; hence a Mohammedan will not buy meat 
that has been slaughtered or handled by one of the de- 
spised sect. Some village children, their clothes in 
tatters and covered with dirt, were given a few grapes 
by a Christian. Their parents would not allow them to 
eat the fruit until it was washed. If the strict Shiah is 
under the business necessity of entering a Christian's 
house, he will not drink tea from the latter's cups, or 
even in the house, unless made by a Mohammedan ser- 
vant. He will not smoke a pipe after a Christian nor 
accept his hospitality in any way. Indeed, Mohamme- 
dans have been abused and beaten for taking service 
with a Christian. A Mohammedan who was traveling 
with Christians asked for a drink of water from 
another Moslem. In reply he received a blow in the 
face with the remark that he was worse than the 
Christians because of his journeying in their com- 
pany. 1 

One day I was about to enter a bazaar. The 
air was a little damp. I was stopped by a Mos- 
lem because, he said, my moist clothes would 
come into contact with theirs and they would 
therefore be defiled. 

1 Quoted by permission from S. G. Wilson, "Persian Life and Cus- 
toms,^ Fleming H. Revell Co. 

44 The Rage of Islam 

Vessels, also, if used by a Christian, are de- 
filed and unfit for use. A copper vessel may be 
purified by immersing and praying over it, or 
by repeating the creed, but an earthen utensil 
must be broken. Sakaus, or water-carriers, 
will sometimes give a Christian a drink for a 
price greater than the value of the mug, then 
break the mug. They have even been known to 
break a bowl from which water was poured out 
onto a Christian's hands to wash them. Wash- 
water poured where the sun cannot shine upon 
it makes the place unclean forever. On such an 
occasion the owner of a house consulted a mul- 
lah as to what he should do. He was told that 
he would have to rebuild; he therefore de- 
manded the price of the house, saying that he 
would be obliged to tear it down. 

An American scientist, ignorant of the language, 
approached a lunch-stand, and putting down a piece of 
money reached for some kabab. The proprietor gave a 
shriek of dismay, fearing that pollution would result 
in the eyes of his customers. The same traveler drank 
water by having it poured into his hands. On account 
of these notions travelers in many parts of Persia are 
obliged to take their own cooking and drinking-vessels 
along with them. Often these difficulties are overcome 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 45 

by the offer of a little extra money. A Persian pro- 
verb says, " By giving money the mullah can be cast 
out of the mosque." 2 

The love of money overcomes many of the 
orthodox Shiah's prejudices. 

This defilement is supposed to extend not 
only to food and drink and their containers, but 
to other things as well. A street gamin, with 
not a clean square inch on his body, has been 
known after asking alms of a Christian, to 
wash the money carefully before putting it into 
his pocket. A Mussulman who was having a 
suit made by a Christian tailor, cautioned him 
not to press it as that would necessitate damp- 
ening it, nor to thread his needle by putting 
the thread in his mouth, nor to cut the thread 
with his teeth. For these reasons Christians 
are rarely permitted to enter a mosque or a 
shrine. A Mohammedan will not sell a Chris- 
tian a copy of the Koran, or anything contain- 
ing a verse from this sacred book. Nor will the 
unbeliever be allowed to touch it. The more 
bigoted will not give a Christian the polite 

2 Wilson, " Persian Life and Customs." 

46 The Rage of Islam 

greeting, " Peace be with you." For the in- 
fidel there is no peace ; to him the expression is, 
" May God keep you " (Allah sakh lasun) . 

Sometimes the nature of these customs provokes re- 
taliation. An English consul called upon a Persian. 
They shook hands. Then the Persian reached his hands 
out of the window to be washed by a servant. When 
the consul left he parted with the same greeting, then 
proceeded to the fountain in the courtyard, ordered his 
own servants to bring a towel and soap, and thoroughly 
washed his hands in the presence of his host. How- 
ever, such extreme examples are becoming rarer. 3 

Of course Mohammedan law is opposed to 
Christian rulers, therefore the coming of the 
Russians meant, in the minds of many, a gen- 
eral doing away with Mohammedan customs. 
It was feared that their women would be made 
to go about unveiled, as Christian women are. 
A great many Christian girls having been re- 
stored to their friends and relatives, and the 
offenders punished, the Moslems looked for a 
general infringement of their religious laws. 
However, the Mussulman looked forward to a 
time when he might settle the score with the 

8 Wilson, " Persian Life and Customs." 

Pre-Russian Condition of Christians 47 

Russian, and made secret alliances with the 
Moslem Turks, beginning as far back as the 
commencement of the present war. His hatred 
was raised to the greatest intensity by the 
kindly feeling of the Christian Persians for 
the Russians. 





The German Propaganda 
At the outbreak of hostilities the Germans 

worked with all their power to incite the Mo- 
hammedan world. They had special agents 
even in Urmia. There were not only German 
and Austrian propagandists, but many Persian 
Mohammedans took part in these measures. 
The plan wa s to start a holy war , as in that way 
it would be possible to stir into action millions 
of Moslems from Persia, India, Afghanistan, 
Baluchistan, Arabia, Turkestan, and other Mo- 
hammedan countries. With a force of from 
ten to fifteen million armed Mussulmans they 
planned to march against Russia first. (Natu- 
rally, the Russians being occupied in fighting 
such an army, this would give the Germans bet- 


52 The Rage of Islam 

ter opportunities on the Western fronts. At 
that time the entry of America into the contest 
was not counted upon. )it was not supposed that 
the giant republic would step into the arena. 
To foster the feelings of bitterness against 
Christian nations generally the ablest German 
writers were enlisted, their efforts being di- 
rected toward inducing the Mohammedan to 
believe that Germany and Austria favored the 
Moslem cause. It was declared that the " Holy 
War " was in full swing all over the world, to 
the great discomfiture of unbelievers. It was 
reported that the English were destroyed and 
their greatest generals captured. The Moslem 
crusade, they said, was being carried on in 
Egypt, Tunis, Algeria, Afghanistan, Baluchis- 
tan, India, the Sudan. These utterly false re- 
ports constitute one of the principal reasons 
why the Mohammedans, in Turkey and in 
some other parts of the Moslem world, have 
been led to take sides against the cause of 
the Allies. 

Here is a sample of one of the Holy War 
proclamations : 

The Storm-clouds 53 

Mohammedans everywhere are fighting on the side of 
Germany; French, English, Serbian, Russian, and 
Japanese forces are being defeated. The Turks, under 
the Padishah of Stamboul, have beaten the Russians in 
many encounters. They have sunk a great number of 
French and English ships. The French are practically 
driven out of Morocco; the Italians have been soundly 
thrashed by Mohammedan troops. Our Russian ene- 
mies having been driven out of Persia, the English have 
fled from Baluchistan and Afghanistan. Now the chil- 
dren of the Padishah are coming into power. The sol- 
diers of the holy war are fighting in India. Every- 
where the Germans and Austrians have defeated the 
French and Russians. In fact, they are beaten to a 
standstill. The English are not yet entirely defeated, 
but have lost most of their soldiers and a great many 
of their warships have been sunk. 

Every Mohammedan, knowing that he must die, also 
knows that he dies for Allah. Allah has seen the flag 
of the holy war with his own eyes. 

Proclamations setting forth all of the above 
declarations were sent to the most trusted men, 
who were asked to use wisdom in guarding 
their secrets, and in conclusion were assured 
that by so doing they would find favor in the 
eyes of the government. (What would have 
happened if the Moslem world had responded 
to the call of the Kaiser for a holy war?/ The 
past gives many examples of great struggles 

54 The Rage of Islam 

for the domination of certain civilizations, a 
certain ideal, or a certain religion, and the fate 
of the world and the destiny of man and of the 
lives of untold millions have rested upon the 
triumph or failure of this or that cause. Take, 
as an instance, the time of Turkish military 
power in the past ; of the Saracens' attempt to 
trample down and overrun the civilization of 
the West. Think for a moment what the Mon- 
gols accomplished in Asia; of what happened 
when Timour came with his fanatic hordes, al- 
most exterminating the Christian world. One 
gets some idea of the magnitude and the fe- 
rocity of his period of successful conquest when 
it is realized that in 1380 he built a tower of 
mortar into which two thousand live men were 
molded in its construction. Seven years later 
he piled up seventy thousand human heads in 
the public square of Ispahan, then the capital 
of Persia ; in 1401, ninety thousand in Bagdad. 
Three years before he massacred one hundred 
thousand prisoners in his invasion of India; 
and in 1400 buried alive four thousand horse- 
men whom he had taken prisoners. Nations 

The Storm-clouds 55 

were wiped out, great countries devastated. 
Untold misery and wretchedness reigned 
throughout the vast tracts of territory for ages. 
The tide was finally stemmed by the superhu- 
man efforts of the Poles, the saviors of Europe, 
and by internal dissensions. But suppose that 
these measures had met with failure? Where 
would have been the European civilization of 
to-day? What has happened in our own time 
to the millions of Armenians, Syrians, and 
others? All this might have been the conse- 
quence to Europe and even to the Americas. 
The storm of fury which broke upon the plain 
of Urmia is a specimen of that diabolical 
cruelty which turns a paradise of beauty into 
an inferno of tortured souls. And when read- 
ing of the atrocities in Belgium, Servia, and the 
other afflicted nations, one may readily under- 
stand that the Turks, in their war for loot and 
lust, have found congenial partners in the Ger- 
man soldiers. The Huns, akin to Genghis Khan 
and Timour in thought and mind, were and are 
the instigators of all this frightful slaughter. 
The coming of the Russians was not unlike 

56 The Rage of Islam 

the advance-guard of cloudland's forces which 
precede the approaching storm. The Chris- 
tians of Urmia found shelter for a time from 
the heat of the Mohammedan sun under the 
shadow of these clouds ; but alas ! it was but the 
forerunner of tempest. 

The summer of 1914 will never be forgotten 
as one of the most prosperous for the Chris- 
tians. It was a time of utmost quiet and peace. 
The people everywhere went about their ac- 
customed tasks without being molested. They 
planted new vineyards and orchards, planned 
new buildings, new homes, expecting fully that 
the era of prosperity would continue. They 
knew nothing whatever of the storm that was 
gathering in darkening and threatening form. 
Soon the clouds would twist and writhe, dis- 
charge their lightnings upon this plain of 
peace until a hurricane of horrors would har- 
row it, a hurricane which was to destroy hun- 
dreds of towns and villages, while thousands of 
people were to be massacred in cold blood, and 
other thousands of women and little children 
starved to death. 

The Storm-clouds 57 

/Long before Turkey declared war the Turk- 
ish Government, egged on by Germany, induced 
the Kurdish tribes on the Persian side of the 
frontier to descend into Persian territory and 
attack the towns of Azerbaijan, at the time gar- 
risoned by Russian troops.) On October 1, 1914, 
the real trouble began. Tiiat day a large force 
of Kurds came down from the hills to Tergavar, 
a Persian district adjoining Turkey's eastern 
boundary, and drove out the small force of Cos- 
sacks acting as a garrison. They then began to 
plunder and burn the Christian villages round- 
about. Most of the Christians escaped, how- 
ever, and fled to the city of Urmia. Every 
night we heard a continuous fusillade, and from 
the near-by hilltops could plainly see the vil- 
lages on fire. Every day the refugees poured 
into the city and into the larger Christian towns 
of the plain. 

It soon became evident that this was no or- 
dinary Kurdish raid, but the attack of an or- 
ganized army, thousands strong. It was, in 
fact, an expedition deliberately planned and 
organized by the Turks, whose object was to 

58 The Rage of Islam 

drive out the Russians and take possession of 
northwestern Persia. But there can be no 
doubt of the scheme having been originally 
planned by Germans. There were Turkish offi- 
cers amongst the Kurds, and German ammuni- 
tion had been supplied to all. Moreover, an 
agreement had been effected with the Moslems 
of the city, who, when the Kurds entered, were 
to rise and join them in the plundering and 
massacring in the Christian quarters. About 
a month after this attack war was declared 
between Russia and Turkey. At the same 
time the Russians closed the Turkish con- 
sulates at Urmia, Tabriz, and Khoi. They ex- 
pelled the Kurds and other Sunni Moslems 
from the villages near Urmia. The Turks, in 
retaliation expelled several thousand Chris- 
tians from adjoining regions in Turkey. 

It soon became clear that the small force of 
Cossacks was not sufficient to repel the enemy. 
Fearing this, my people became a prey to fresh 
anxieties, but the Russian consul encouraged 
us and assured us that reenforcements were 
coming. Day after day passed, yet no reen- 

The Storm-clouds 59 

forcements arrived. At that critical period the 
Russians raised a very useful additional force 
by serving out rifles and ammunition to Chris- 
tian inhabitants of the region, in that way in- 
creasing their effectiveness by some three 
thousand men. 

The climax was reached on Sunday, October 
eleventh. All day large bands of Kurds could 
be seen coming down the mountain slopes. 
The Russians, besides having but a limited 
number of Cossack soldiery, had very few guns. 
Nevertheless they used these to the best possi- 
ble advantage, and shelled the enemy as they 
approached within range. This checked the 
attack for a time, but after the darkness fell 
the Kurds came on again, and during the night 
made a determined attack on Charbash, a vil- 
lage inhabited by Christians, and located only 
about half a mile from the city wall. 

Firing began about ten in the evening and 
continued throughout the night, but the Rus- 
sians and Christian natives made a good de- 
fense, and in the morning the enemy retired, 
leaving many dead behind them. One of the 

60 The Rage of Islam 

slain was a Turkish officer of high rank, and 
some valuable documents were found in his 
pockets. Although there was a good deal of 
skirmishing in the neighborhood, this was the 
last attempt in force for the time. It was gen- 
erally believed that an attack on the city had 
been planned for the Monday night, for behind 
the enemy lines were a great many women and 
children with baskets and bags for carrying 

Very soon after this the Russian reenforce- 
ments arrived, bringing guns of large caliber 
and an ample supply of ammunition. The 
Turks and Kurds disappeared while the Rus- 
sians advanced toward the mountains. They 
pushed the Kurds closely, and upon their re- 
turn brought with them huge droves of sheep, 
herds of cattle and oxen, etc. Meanwhile the 
city was being fortified by Russian troops, and 
thousands of people were employed in digging 
trenches. These acts of preparation made us 
feel a sense of security, and we never imagined 
that our protectors would be compelled to 
leave us. 

The Storm-clouds 61 

But while these preparations were in prog- 
ress a disturbance started in the district to the 
southeastward. Several Turkish and Kurdish 
chiefs rallied their followers and assembled an 
army of some thousands. Marching north to- 
ward Urmia they were met by the Russians 
and their Persian allies near Souj-Boulak; this 
was in the latter part of December. Two en- 
gagements took place; the Russians were suc- 
cessful in the first, but at Miandoab, at the 
south end of Lake Urmia, they were routed by 
the Turks and Kurds. About the same time 
Enver Pasha invaded Transcaucasia, which 
borders Azerbaijan on the north, from Arme- 
nian Turkey, at Sarikamysh, in the Kars re- 
gion. This threatened to cut off communication 
between Russia and Persia, and orders were 
given for the evacuation of Urmia, Tabriz, and 
Khoi. That of Urmia took place on January 
second, of Salmas a day or two later, and of 
Tabriz on January fifth. 

Meanwhile the situation in Transcaucasia 
changed ; Enver Pasha's army was routed, and 
the evacuation of Khoi did not take place. 

62 The Rage of Islam 

While these disturbances were going on, with 
constant fighting on all sides, the Christian 
people of Urmia became more and more 
nervous over the situation. Yet they had the 
utmost faith in the Russian prowess, and did 
not for a moment think that we should be left 
unprotected and at the mercy of so cruel and 
unscrupulous an enemy. Alas! we were mis- 

On December twenty-ninth we heard that 
our friends in Urmia were to leave, withdraw- 
ing their troops to the north. At the town of 
Geogtapa, where I was living at the time, the 
Russians had a telephone station. It was lo- 
cated in the house of Mam-Yoseph, a neigh- 
bor of mine. Hearing the rumor of evacuation 
I rushed to the station, and entering in an agi- 
tated manner asked if the report were true. 
The soldier in charge replied, " Oh, no ! No ! 
We will never leave this place ! " Said I : " My 
friend, if you do leave us without warning you 
may be sure that every Christian here will be 
butchered ! " He repeated his assurances in the 
most emphatic manner. " Well," said I, " pos- 

The Storm-clouds 63 

sibly you do not know. I wish you would ask 
your general." He took up the telephone and 
spoke to some one. The answer came back: 
" Nonsense ! We will not leave that place in 
which we have been so long." 

I was quite satisfied with the assurance, and 
went to my home and ate my supper in peace. 
Yet that same evening the Russian telephone 
operators, being on the outskirts of the town, 
stole quietly away, going several miles north- 
west to join the Russian main army. During 
the same night the entire Russian force left 
our section, withdrawing toward Transcau- v; * 


/(•*<V ^%^^^-A^r 





On Saturday morning when we arose we heard 
that the Russians had gone. The telephone 
station had been vacated and the telephone was 
gone. The excitement among our people be- 
came so great that some of them began to leave 
at an early hour. Those who did were imme- 
diately robbed and murdered by the Mohamme- 
dans. As for ourselves, we dared not leave 
our homes. Thousands of Moslems were out 
with their swords, guns, and daggers in an 
eager search for Christians. We were trapped, 
and could think of no way of escape. That 
night a number of our young men, who pos- 
sessed some sort of firearms, went to certain 
roads leading to the town and built barricades 
on the roofs of houses facing the roads and 
there stood watch, as we fully expected an at- 


68 The Rage of Islam 

tack at any moment. The Mussulmans would 
have massacred us at once despite our feeble 
defenses, but feared a return of the Russians. 

That very day a meeting of the city officials 
and the leading Mohammedan clergy was held, 
and it was unanimously voted that every Chris- 
tian must be destroyed at once. Yet after some 
discussion of the matter, and consideration of 
what they might eventually have to answer 
for, it was decided that the better plan was to 
send for the Kurds, who were in the near-by 
mountains, as if the Russians did return and 
threw the blame upon the Moslems of the city, 
a severe punishment was certain to follow. 
Therefore they sent special messengers to a 
number of Kurdish chiefs representing thou- 
sands of warriors, asking them to come down 
to the plain at once, offering them the Christian 
inhabitants as a gift, to do with as they pleased. 

On the night that the Russians left, taking 
roads that led through many Christian vil- 
lages and towns, the residents of these places, 
knowing what the Kurds would do once they 
were cognizant of what had taken place, left 

The Cloudburst 69 

their homes and followed the troops, hoping 
for protection and escape from Kurdish sav- 
agery. I doubt whether the story of that awful 
flight can ever be adequately told. Few tales 
that I have ever heard can compare with it in 
heartrending interest. 

The entire northern section of the Urmian 
plain learned of the departure of the Russian 
troops on Saturday night, January 2, 1915. 

By midnight the terrible exodus had begun, 
and by morning most of the Christian villages 
were deserted. People left their cattle in their 
stables and all their household goods in their 
homes, just as they were, and hurried away to 
save their lives. If any one possessed a horse, 
a donkey, or any other beast of burden he was 
fortunate; and if he happened to have ready 
cash in his house he was even more so. But 
well-to-do though one may be, he does not al- 
ways have money on hand. Therefore many 
who, according to the standards of the coun- 
try, were rich, started on their long journey 
with no more than a mere pittance, and the 
vast majority were on foot, tramping through 

70 The Rage of Islam 

snow, slush, and mud. Before the seven long 
days of terrible travel through the cold and 
dampness to the Russian border were ac- 
complished, all encumbrances had been cast 
aside — bedding, extra clothing, even bread — 
for it soon became a question with the misery- 
racked, weary, struggling crowds which they 
should carry, their bedding and clothes, or their 
babies. Very many of the weaker ones never 
reached the border, but lay down by the road- 
side and died. Those who did succeed in hold- 
ing out to the end were so haggard and ema- 
ciated that their own friends and relatives 
failed to recognize them. 

Yet worse than the weary tramping by day 
were the awful nights. In the villages by the 
way every possible shelter was so crowded that 
there was no room to lie down. Before morn- 
ing the air would become so foul that the oc- 
cupants were almost suffocated. And yet those 
who found no shelter were in a worse plight, 
lying out in the mire, exposed to the searching 
cold and dampness. Some of the children were 
carried off by wolves and devoured ; many died 

The Cloudburst 71 

from exposure. Parents became separated 
from each other and lost their children in the 
darkness, and in the masses of hurrying, fran- 
tic, and demoralized people were unable to find 
them again. Hoping against hope that they 
might find them during the ensuing day they 
staggered on. At every stopping-place ex- 
hausted fathers and mothers ran anxiously 
from group to group, and house to house, seek- 
ing lost children. 

At one place seventy people were found in the mud, 
frozen and dead. One young man found his mother in 
such a plight, frozen in the mire, and shot her through 
the head, rather than leave her to the slow torture of 
death by exposure or to be eaten by wolves. As one 
heard these sad tales repeated again and again, with 
only slight differences of detail, one could but wonder 
what human flesh and blood can not withstand under 
the stress of such a crisis. 

Many terrible stories have come to my ear (says one 
writing of the occurrence), but the following is suffi- 
cient to give the reader some faint idea of the horrors 
of that dreadful flight. One old man, accompanied by 
two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren, started on 
that fatal night from the village of Karagoz, a place 
with which I am well acquainted. All were afoot, the 
women carrying their little ones by turns, while the 
old man stumbled along as best he could, unable to bear 
any burden. He soon gave out, lay down by the road- 

72 The Rage of Islam 

side, and died. The two women and their little charges 
pressed on for a day or so longer, when one of them 
gave birth to an infant in the half-frozen mire by the 
roadside. The mother tore off her dress, wrapped the 
baby in the pieces of cloth, and resumed her weary 
tramp. Fortunately the women found their husbands 
awaiting them at Djoulfa, a hamlet on the Russian 
border. It was a sorrowful meeting, made more so as 
during the complications arising from the arrival of 
the baby two of the other children had been separated 
from the party and lost. Imagine their feelings of 
satisfaction and thankfulness when two days later a 
wagon-load of waifs were brought in, and the two miss- 
ing youngsters found amongst them. 

Kind-hearted Russian soldiers had rescued them. 
But the hardships they had endured were too much for 
youth to withstand, and two days afterward the chil- 
dren died. 1 

People dying and children being born by the 
wayside were but commonplaces of this exodus, 
though not many had to undergo a combination 
of these ordeals. The night of January second 
about twenty-two thousand persons left their 
homes in Urmia city and district; it is as yet 
impossible to ascertain how many of the num- 
ber perished. 

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning the news 

1 Bulletin No. 12, Board of Foreign Missions, 1915. 

The Cloudburst 73 

was brought that the town of Diza-taka was 
being ravaged by Mohammed Bek, a Kurd- 
ish chief. By this time all the Christian vil- 
lages in the Baranduz River section were de- 
serted. The Kurds had taken possession and 
were pillaging them, aided by Mohammedan 

This information created great excitement 
in Geogtapa, at the time crowded with refu- 
gees, who had poured in from twenty-eight 
neighboring villages. 

The majority had brought a portion of their 
effects with them. The people of Geogtapa, 
having compassion, opened their houses to the 
strangers and shared with them whatever they 
had, supplies being plentiful. Every hour 
brought more distressing news. By evening 
the mission building and our home were packed 
with women and children. Becau se we were 
American citizens the people thought that the 
Kurds would not attack us; therefore they 
brought all their valuables with them and filled 
our large and commodious cellar. 

All Sunday night I was up and out in the 

74 The Rage of Islam 

streets with others, visiting those who were 
watching, doing my best to lessen the excite- 
ment. About two o'clock Monday morning 
some of the town leaders met in one of the 
houses to consider what means were best to 
pursue in protecting ourselves. While this con- 
ference was going on two Kurds, who lived in 
a near-by village and whom we knew very well, 
came in. One of them was, in fact, employed as 
a collector of taxes in our town. He told us 
that Mohammed Bek demanded two thousand 
dollars from Geogtapa, or would order an at- 
tack. We said that we should be glad to see 
the chief personally as soon as morning 
dawned, and that we were willing to accede to 
his demand. The two Kurds departed ; later we 
learned that they were merely spies, sent to 
ascertain whether the Russians had really left 
or not; the Kurdish fear of the Russ jans was 
very great. 

We felt a little easier now and went to our 
homes again, hopeful that some kind of settle- 
ment might be arrived at. During the entire 
night almost everybody remained in the streets, 

The Cloudburst 75 

and the excitement was at its height. Some left 
the town for the city of Urmia, others went to 
Goolpashan, yet others to more distant places 
where they thought a greater chance of safety 

A few of the leaders in Geogtapa conceived 
it to be advisable for all the people in the town 
to leave at once for the city, taking nothing 
with them; but the majority objected to this 
plan, as not all of the women and children could 
be gotten ready upon such short notice. How- 
ever, we kept them quiet by telling them that 
we would meet the Kurdish chiefs and possibly 
might prevent an attack by the payment of a 
certain sum of money. This had a soothing 
effect, so that most went to their homes before 
morning had far advanced, encouraged by a be- 
lief that something would be done to obviate, or 
at least lessen, the danger. I returned finally to 
my own house, finding it still crowded. I told 
those there what had happened in regard to a 
settlement with the Kurds, whereupon nearly 
all left, feeling more tranquil. 

I said to my wife that I was hungry and she 

76 The Rage of Islam 

prepared me a meal. I sat down, but before I 
had taken a mouthful I heard firing in the 
southwestern portion of the town. I put down 
my cup of coffee and started up; I knew what 
the firing portended. 

It was a very cold morning. The ground was 
covered with snow to a depth of several inches. 
Without waiting to put on either overcoat or 
rubbers, I hurried out into the street. There I 
saw hundreds — yes, thousands — of men, wo- 
men, and children running from all parts of the 
town toward the hill. Geogtapa, as I have pre- 
viously stated, is partly built upon a slope. All 
were crying and shrieking : " The Kurds have 
come ! They are here ! They are going to kill 
us! What shall we do? Where shall we es- 
cape? " Louder and louder rose the cries, " Oh, 
save us ! " 

I watched these poor wretches, but before 
I could utter a single word of consolation the 
Kurds were upon us. 

The firing was intense now. While I thus 
stood trying to collect my thoughts, wonder- 
ing what I could do to aid these poor people, I 


The Cloudburst 77 

thought I heard my wife call to me and looked 
back. There she stood upon the roof of our 
mission building. We had in our home a large 
and beautiful American flag. My wife had 
thought of this flag and had placed it on the 
top of the mission structure, praying aloud as 
she waved it to and fro. It soon attracted the 
attention of the crowd running in every direc- 
tion below, bewildered and confused, not know- 
ing which way to turn. At once they conceived 
the idea that the American flag could in some 
way succor them, and began to pour into the 
mission yard. Every inch of space in the 
building, yard, and roof was soon filled ; I fol- 
lowed the crowd. I was told that more than 
twenty-five thousand Kurds and some thou- 
sands of Persian Mohammedans had sur- 
rounded the town. Many were carrying sacks 
and ropes. Some even had ox-carts in which to 
carry off the plunder. 

My wife joined me in a moment ; she was ex- 
tremely nervous and frightened, but had not 
lost her presence of mind. She told me that in 
her opinion it was bad for the people to gather 

78 The Rage of Islam 

in this manner, for if the Kurds came all might 
be butchered in one mass, whereas if they were 
scattered about it would be easier for at least 
a part to escape. So I told all I could make hear 
what my wife had said and advised them to 
leave at once, and I led the way out of the en- 
closure. Some then ascended the hill to the 
church at its summit; some crossed the street 
to another church, while the rest of us, per- 
haps a thousand in all, tried to leave the town 
through the northeast section. But we found 
our way blocked, so turned and entered the 
churches. If I remember correctly, I was the 
last man to go into the church. Looking in 
from the door I found that the edifice was 
jammed full, everybody standing up, praying 
and weeping. I even heard little children offer- 
ing up such heart-breaking prayers that I could 
not bear to remain to hear any more. So I went 
out into the street and stood in the shadow of 
a wall. I listened to the firing which was now 
a continuous fusillade, and to the crying and 
wailing of those inside. Several of the Chris- 
tians who possessed firearms were now engag- 

The Cloudburst 79 

ing the enemy from behind barricades; some 
from the tops of their houses; while nearly a 
hundred were on top of the church on the hill, 
the highest place in the region. From this 
point they could keep the Kurds in check in 
every direction except one. The southern por- 
tion of the town was already in the hands of 
the marauders, the houses there making a fine 
place of defense, those on the hill being unable 
to see them. The Kurds had set the western 
part of the town on fire. When it was realized 
that the safest place was the church on the 
hilltop, defended by our men, the refugees 
again flocked toward it, endeavoring to enter. 
I may explain, by the way, that this church was 
surrounded by a large yard with a wall about 
ten feet high. But the entrance to this yard 
was in such a conspicuous place that those seek- 
ing its shelter were shot down as they neared 
the gate. Scores were killed in this manner, 
the majority women and children. 

Several hundreds now left by the northern 
side, the men on the hill having cleared the way 
with their guns. That portion of the country 

80 The Rage of Islam 

is very level and open, therefore it was not diffi- 
cult to clear it. No Kurds were in that locality 
as yet. 

I was still in the street. There were many 
wounded on all sides. Suddenly I realized that 
I had lost my wife and children in the excite- 
ment and confusion. There was no time to lose 
in an effort to find them again. " Where shall 
I go? Where shall I look for them? " I said to 
myself. My wife was a foreigner, and my four 
boys who were with her, small and unable to 
help themselves. I rushed into the church, 
forced my way through the dense mass of peo- 
ple, and was fortunate enough to find my entire 
family grouped together near the platform. 
All were weeping and praying. My wife, being 
known as an American, was surrounded by a 
score of our Christian Persian women, who 
were begging her to pray. They were saying : 
" Khanim, we know that you are a Christian 
woman. Pray! God may hear your prayers, 
and we may be saved," at the same time strik- 
ing their breasts. My poor wife was crying 
bitterly while offering her prayers. 

The Cloudburst 81 

It is difficult for me to convey to the reader 
a mental picture of the scene of these experi- 
ences. The church surmounting the hilltop, an 
elevation of about one hundred and fifty feet, 
was a strong edifice of brick, with walls forty- 
two inches thick, and covered with a heavily 
timbered roof, shingled, parapetted, and over- 
laid with earth. It was impregnable to any 
firearm excepting cannon. A large yard and a 
wall surrounded it. The church wherein we 
last took refuge was immediately below that of 
the Russians, on the southern slope of the hill. 
It was of similar construction, although larger. 
Its seating capacity was seven hundred. The 
wall encompassing its grounds was about 
twelve feet high at the rear and fifteen feet at 
the front. A gateway some seven feet wide 
faced the front entrance to the church, and a 
smaller one pierced the wall on the south. Both 
these gates were composed of heavy planking 
thickly studded with iron rivets. The town lay 
mostly to the south of the hill, the northern 
side being near its limits, so that to one viewing 
the country from the height the town was 

82 The Rage of Islam 

spread out below, like a panorama, to the west, 
south, and east; while to the northward, over 
the tops of a few scattered dwellings, one gazed 
upon a broad expanse of level plain covered to 
the horizon line with vineyard and orchard, 
now all lying under a mantle of snow. These 
vineyards were separated from the roads and 
fields by mud walls. 

Above the din of rifle-fire, above the cursing 
and yelling of the fiends below, now in posses- 
sion of a greater part of the town, arose the 
cries of those within the church, in an agony of 
mortal terror. The spat of bullets striking the 
walls was but a too frequent punctuation of the 
steady volume of sound. 

In this turmoil, of course, the children were 
necessarily neglected. We soon found that our 
youngest, Wilbert, but a little over two years 
old, had strayed and was lost. He was just be- 
ginning to speak a few words, and it was un- 
likely that he could render any assistance in 
identifying himself to those who might find 
him. A hurried but careful search failed to 
locate the child, and ten minutes later we left 

The Cloudburst 83 

the church and grounds through the south gate, 
went round the hill, and down into the north- 
eastern part of town, our progress concealed 
by friendly walls until we had arrived at the 
confines of the settlement. 

The firing was now terrific, and Moslems of 
every sort were pouring into Geogtapa from all 
points of the compass. I said to those who 
were with me : " We must go at once. We are 
almost surrounded ! " But my wife began to 
weep again, and declared that she would never 
leave the place until she had found her little 
lost baby. My feelings were intensely wrought 
upon. I said to her : " Very well. I will go 
back and look for him once more." I came far- 
ther round the hill, trying to reach the top from 
the southeastern quarter. I was perhaps half- 
way up the slope when some one fired at me. 
The bullet missed, but so narrowly that I 
imagined I had been hit, and fell to the ground 
half senseless. After a few moments I put my 
hand to my ear and finding no sign of blood was 
greatly relieved. After some minutes' rest, to 
gather fresh strength and courage, I crept back 

84 The Rage of Islam 

to our party. I told my wife that it was impos- 
sible to make further search for the lost one, as 
we were encompassed by our enemies on all 
sides. So we picked our way round the hill 
again, and started on our journey of escape, 
walking between the vineyards and beside an 
irrigation ditch. The borders of the canals and 
ditches are planted with trees in almost every 
instance. These sheltered us to a certain 



The scene about us was a most pathetic one. 
The Kurds had come upon us so quickly that a 
majority of the women had had no time to put 
on shoes or stockings, and many were very 
scantily clad. They were, of course, terribly 
frightened, and half of the poor creatures were 
walking barefoot in the snow. We were going 
very slowly, and as we passed along we saw a 
great number of children wandering about in 
the vineyards, helpless and crying, because 
separated from their parents. 

No one waited for any one else; everybody 
looked out for himself. I told those of our 
party that I thought it best to head for Goolpa- 
shan, which we did. We had traveled but a 
short distance when I espied some three hun- 
dred armed Mohammedans just ahead of us, 


88 The Rage of Islam 

behind a little wall. A number of them had 
handkerchiefs tied over their faces, and their 
caps and turbans pulled down so that we should 
not recognize them. We learned later that 
they were from villages in our neighborhood, 
people whom we knew. As soon as we neared 
them they opened fire. Our people began to 
shriek and cry aloud, dropping their belong- 
ings. I told my wife to run quickly and get be- 
hind a wall to the west of us. We ran, but my 
wife suddenly stopped. I looked down, and 
there on the snow saw two little babes, wailing 
and crying. Some of the mothers had had so 
much to carry and to care for that they had 
left these helpless ones in preference to leaving 
their older children, thus giving the latter more 
of an opportunity to escape. Upon seeing the 
infants my wife looked at me and exclaimed: 
" My God ! What is going to become of us ! " 
Then I cried aloud. My feelings revolted. I 
wondered why we, a Christian people, should be 
/ thus forsaken and abandoned to the mercy of 
the wretches who persecuted us. The devil 
seemed to possess me for the moment. I 

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Fleeing From the Storm 89 

imagined him to be saying : " Christ has been 
your Master, and you claimed him for your 
Master. You have been serving him a long time. 
Where is he now? Why has he left you? " 

There is a limit to human endurance, and it 
seemed to me that I had reached it. I experi- 
enced the anguish of Job. All about me, amidst 
the snow and the piercing cold, were hundreds 
of refugees, thinly clad or only half-clad, suf- 
fering from the winds and the cold, from 
wounds and the keenest torment of every kind. 
Surrounded by the most fiendish and heartless 
of enemies, whose very creed is cruelty, whose 
religion teaches that paradise awaits the de- 
stroyer of the unbeliever, there I was in the 
center of this great mass of humanity herded 
like sheep, unprotected by the slightest bar- 
rier, wailing, shrieking, moaning, in an agony 
of utmost despair. 

There seemed to be no possible means of es- 
cape. My very soul revolted as I gazed round 
upon my little family and the host of kindly 
neighbors and relatives, all suffering from the 
same nightmare of terror and desperation. 

90 The Rage of Islam 

But the so ul knows no defeat . At such su- 
preme moments, panic quickly gives way to a 
species of calm, and reason as quickly reasserts 
itself. " Hope springs eternal in the human 
breast," and memory, resuming her seat, exerts 
her soothing influence. The revolt against the 
justice of God was soon dispelled. My mind 
looked inward, and I thought of the thousands 
of Christian martyrs, dying amid surrounding 
elements as terrifying as those I now experi- 
enced. The words of a compassionate Saviour 
rose to my mind : " Child, think of the many 
wlio have died for my name's sake. Possess 
thy soul in peace." 

This and kindred thoughts comforted me in- 
stantly; a calm succeeded the disturbed mental 
condition. " Thy will be done ! " I exclaimed, 
and gathering my wife and little ones, together 
with the two babes in the snow, we plodded on. 
We were fortunate enough to deliver the in- 
fants to their parents the following day. 

Our party was now split into halves by the 
cross-fire of the Moslems, one half fleeing to 
the northeast, toward the vineyards of the 

Fleeing From the Storm 91 

Goolpashan region, as we had originally 
planned, while the others turned directly west. 
We joined these later, climbing over a wall, and 
crossing a road on the farther side. Glancing 
around I saw Shams-ul-la-Bek, who had been 
sent to urge the people to remain within the 
town. This man was dispatched to assure us 
that the Kurds would not be allowed to enter 
the town at all. As soon as I recognized the 
governor's agent, I called to him, asking where 
he was going. " To the city," he replied. 
" Won't you take us with you? "said I, at the 
same time promising him a present if he would 
assist us. Of course I had nothing with me to 
offer him. My wife, upon learning that Shams- 
ul-la-Bek was on his way to Urmia, grasped his 
bridle and cried, " I won't let go until you 
promise to take us with you." I stepped for- 
ward and seized the horse's bridle upon the 
other side, so that for the time being the official 
was virtually our prisoner. After considering 
for a moment he said that we might accompany 
him. I called to those about us, bidding them 
to go ahead or to follow us; and so began our 

92 The Rage of Islam 

journey to Urmia, a slow progress, for there 
were so many of the sick, the aged, the 
wounded, and of children that we could not 
proceed rapidly. 

We had not gone very far when we met thou- 
sands of Mohammedans on the road, coming 
from every direction, bound for Geogtapa. 
Fortunately for us, when they saw us in the 
company of a government official, whom they 
recognized by his uniform, they made no 
demonstration against our party. 

But when we reached Wazerabad, a Chris- 
tian village, we found other thousands of Mos- 
lems engaged in gathering loot. They were 
breaking in the doors of houses and committing 
other acts of violence, w r hile the streets were 
literally filled with plunder of every descrip- 
tion. Now the Kurds had not arrived at this 
town as yet; the plunderers were jJlJPejrsiaji 
Mohammedans. One treacherous-looking beast 
tried to rob some of our party, but my wife 
snatched a gun from the hands of some one and 
pointing it at the marauder threatened to shoot. 
He looked at her in astonishment and with 

Fleeing from the Storm, 93 

some amusement. What! A woman with 
yellow hair, and with foreign attire, daring to 
threaten him ! But he let go of his victim and 
walked away, often turning to look behind him, 
apparently dumbfounded by the boldness of the 
American woman. £ The women of that country A 
are so restrained and kept down, by custom and 
tradition, that they never dare to assert them- 
selves.) We pressed on and on, constantly meet- 
ing fresh hordes of Mohammedans coming 
from the city. Amongst one group I saw a 
man whom I knew, an agent of the government 
in a neighboring community. I called to him : 
" Ali Baba, come with us as far as the city." 
He acquiesced, and I bade him go ahead and 
lead the people. The nearer we approached the 
metropolis, the greater the number of Moslems ! 
Upon arriving at the river bridge, about mid- 
way between Geogtapa and Urmia, we saw at 
least ten thousand gathered together. 

Looking to the eastward from this point we 
perceived at a distance of about a mile a crowd 
composed of several thousand Christians. They 
had been wandering through the fields and 

94 The Rage of Islam 

swamps, in the snow, trying to avoid the roads 
on account of the bands of murdering Moham- 
medans. When the Mussulmans in the neigh- 
borhood of the bridge saw that we were pro- 
tected by native officials, they turned upon this 
other multitude of refugees and opened fire. It 
was a frightful attack. They shot down the 
men and looked about eagerly for comely girls 
and women to carry away. Those to the right 
of us turned to flee, but did not come directly 
toward us, in their efforts to escape the on- 
slaught. All were screaming and yelling. Prob- 
ably each individual was at the mercy of two 
or three, or more, armed Mohammedans. A 
great number of young girls, some not more 
than seven or eight years old, were openly as- 
saulted there upon the roads and in the fields 
by these demons. Oh, it was a hellish scene! 
No pen-picture of the most infamous debauch- 
eries of the infernal regions could adequately 
describe it! 

I could endure it no longer; I turned away 
and pressed on with my people toward the city. 
For we could render no aid to those poor suf- 

Fleeing from the Storm 95 

ferers; we could make no effort — could not 
raise a hand to succor a single soul! 

About a quarter of a mile farther on I saw, 
in the distance, half a dozen horsemen coming 
toward us. They were riding furiously, one 
of them bearing in his hand something re- 
sembling a piece of cloth. I wiped away my 
tears that I might see the better, and thought 
that I recognized the cloth. I turned to my 
wife and asked, " Doesn't that look to you like 
an American flag?" It was! My joy was 
beyond expression, and I broke down and wept 
again. I felt as if America's hundred millions 
were following that flag to come and save us. 
Then the reaction came, and great hunger, 
thirst, and weariness overcame me. I wanted 
to recline in the snow and slush, and rest. I 
noted a bank of snow on the far side of the 
road, staggered over to it, and threw myself 
down at full length. Meanwhile the horsemen 
arrived. The flag-bearer was Doctor Packard, 
an American missionary, on his way to meet 
a Kurdish chief, Karaini Agha, to beg protec- 
tion for the Christians. When he saw me he 

96 The Rage of Islam 

inquired why we were fleeing. I could not talk 
to him, through excess of feeling. He turned 
to my wife who explained why we were leaving 
Geogtapa, and what was happening there. I 
beckoned to him to hasten on, for if he did not, 
thousands more would be murdered. He dashed 
away and I watched until he disappeared from 
sight. " God bless you and your dear little 
flag," said I fervently. Doctor Packard ar- 
rived at Geogtapa and at the risk of his own 
life saw the Kurdish chiefs. Then he went into 
the town and managed to persuade the Kurds 
to spare the lives of the people, provided they 
would deliver up their arms. Thus, by this 
brave man's action probably two thousand or 
more lives were saved. 

After resting a few moments longer I rose 
from the snow, and we continued our mournful 

We reached the city, and upon entering found 
immense crowds assembled. Some were gloat- 
ing over the wretched condition of the Chris- 
tians, but others were beating their breasts 
(the sign of sorrow) and mourning over our 

Fleeing from the Storm 97 

miserable plight. We did not know where to 
go for protection. I thought that the governor 
might be willing to help us. Ascertaining from 
an official that the governor was then at the 
house of Vali, an ex-governor and one of the 
highest nobles of the city, I left our party and 
went to see him. My wife followed me into 
Vali's premises, the others remaining outside. 
Two or three times we were stopped by ser- 
vants, but we pushed our way through and back 
into the inner court. There I found the gov- 
ernor with a large number of the higher city 
officials, some fifty in all. Among them was 
the mayor, the Sheik-ul-Islam, head of the 
clergy, together with others of the priesthood. 

A dead silence followed the entrance of my 
wife and myself into the court. My feelings 
again overcame me and it was with the utmost 
difficulty that I could speak at all, my voice be- 
ing so broken that I could scarcely articulate. 
I looked at the governor, forced back my tears, 
and said, " Come out and see what has hap- 
pened to your family" (part of the town of 
Geogtapa belonged to him). He stared at me 

98 The Rage of Islam 

but said not a word. " Be sure," said I, " that 
this thing will not go without question ! " At 
any other time I should not have dared to ad- 
dress him in such manner, but after the scenes 
I had witnessed, and the loss of my little child, 
I was determined to have my say even though 
it cost me my life. Of the fifty officials present 
none broke the silence, and so we turned and 
went away again. 

Joining those who had remained in the street 
we wandered about for perhaps an hour. 
Finally we met an American missionary, 
Doctor Shedd, 1 who, after he had questioned us 
concerning our flight, invited us all to his mis- 
sion. May God bless this man ; he has done 
much i'oi cue OmiSLians 01 rersia. 

We were given a room, about ten by four- 
teen feet in dimensions. The day following 
so many of the refugees came to the place that 
twenty-three people were crowded into this 
room. Think of it ! 

The next day our little boy was found again. 
He had been taken in charge by some friends 

i Died of cholera, August 7, 1918. 

Fleeing from the Storm 99 

of ours, who brought him to us as soon as they 
ascertained our whereabouts. He was in a 
terribly frightened state and very hungry, hav- 
ing had nothing to eat for forty-eight hours. 
We were quite unable to go outside again and 
find him food, or milk, for the Kurds had now 
entered the city, and while we watched, he 
slowly passed away. 



What the city of refuge was to the ancient Is- 
raelites this mission compound, in which we 
were now herded like sheep in a crowded fold, 
was to about twenty thousand Christians, who 
found within its confines a shelter from the 
tempest of Moslem hatred. Its walls were by 
no means powerful enough to keep back the 
hordes of Mohammedan wolves roving the 
streets and alleys on every side. The thing 
that really saved us from annihilation was the 
presence of nineteen American flags, placed 
upon the walls and over the one gate. Flying 
to the breeze the Stars and Stripes added a 
new glory to their luster, again becoming the 
savior of the weak and the oppressed. 

And now, reader, join me in thought for a 
while, and try to imagine the scene where, for 


104 The jfcage of Islam 

five long and dreary months we had to endure, 
with what patience and fortitude we could com- 
mand, the double anguish of mental and phy- 
sical suffering. Let us view the picture, in 
imagination, from some near-by elevation. 
Looking down we see immediately below us the 
American mission compound, ground and build- 
ings belonging to Americans, the property pur- 
chased with American money. The houses are 
but one and two stories in height, the entire 
premises being surrounded by a wall twenty 
feet high and three feet thick. A large gate 
forms the one entrance. The whole place is 
no greater in size than a city square; perhaps 
about as much ground is enclosed as is occu- 
pied by John Wanamaker's New York City 
store. There are several mission buildings, in- 
cluding a church, a school, a printing-office, and 
other minor structures. The grounds were 
beautifully kept, containing all sorts of trees 
and flowers, much resembling a handsome city 
park. Two wells supplied clear, cold water, 
while through the premises ran a small brook. 
In summer it was indeed a lovely spot. 

The Shelter from the Storm 105 

But there were no sewers, hence no sanita- 
tion. Imagine the condition of things with 
twenty thousand people, men, women, and 
children, living there for five long months ! 

Let us now look out from the wall of the 
compound: what do we see? A large city 
spreading away upon all sides of us ; its houses, 
not unlike those of ancient Pompeii, each with- 
in its own walls. It is a little world within it- 
self. Nearly all of the streets are narrow and 
crooked. They are filled with Mohammedans 
of every description. Kurds from Mesopotamia, 
with their peculiar dress; from the Persian 
borders, with oddly shaped turbans; from the 
mountains of Kurdistan, with their baggy 
trousers. All have sharp and fiery eyes ; all are 
armed to the teeth, ready to strike instantly if 
they can but catch sight of a Christian. There 
are Persian Moslems also, some of them from 
the mountain districts, some from the rougher 
sections of the city itself. All are roving 
about on a mission of murder, loot, and arson, 
ready to spring upon their prey whenever the 
least opportunity offers. Mingling with these 

106 The Rage of Islam 

crowds one occasionally sees Jews, no t ^ at the 
time, objects of hatred to the Mussulmans. 
Read this interesting story of a certain Jew : 

As soon as the Turks and Kurds took posses- 
sion of Urmia, this man, who was a Russian 
subject, suddenly disappeared. It was rumored 
that he had fled into Russian territory. Not so. 
Fearing capture he had dug a grave in his own 
garden, covering it over with a huge flat stone. 
In this hole he concealed himself, receiving 
sufficient air through a small hole he had made 
at one side of the stone. He lay throughout 
the day, retiring to his house for the night, but 
rising before the dawn to reenter his excava- 
tion. For more than five months he lived in 
this manner. When the Russians came back 
he emerged. I heard the story from his own 
lips the first morning after the danger was 

During all this period the shops of the city 
were busier than ever, for extraordinary 
crowds were pouring in from all directions 
daily, hoping for bargains in the way of pur- 
chases, or in the disposition of spoils. The 

The Shelter from the Storm 107 

rapine, burning, and robbery never ceased, as 
long as there was anything left to destroy or 
steal. All this was done quite openly, and the 
buying and selling was carried on briskly at 
all times. 

Persian sheep are larger than American va- 
rieties. So many sheep, cows, and other do- 
mestic animals were taken from Christian 
dwellers that the Kurds could not convey them 
all to their mountain homesteads. Therefore 
they sold them to Persian Mohammedans. 
And at what prices ! Sheep were often disposed 
of at five cents apiece, and cows as low as forty 
cents. Persian rugs worth one hundred dollars 
were sold for five dollars. Nearly everything 
went at corresponding rates. 

Two Kurds saw a handsome yellow metal 
padlock attached to a door. They immediately 
began a quarrel over its possession. Not being 
able to come to an agreeable arrangement they 
decided to fight a duel over the article, and 
thus decide the matter of ownership. They 
wrenched the padlock from its fastenings, not 
without considerable difficulty by the way, and 

108 The Rage of Islam 

laid it on the ground. Then they took their 
places at a distance of twenty-five paces from 
one another, and fired. Both were killed. This 
sort of thing is not uncommon. These people 
often fight to the death over mere trifles. 

My own home was looted, then burned. The 
intruders burned all of my books, my most 
valued treasure. 

While I was yet in captivity a Kurdish chief 
came to consult a doctor. He was accompanied 
by his five servants. The chief removed his 
rubbers before crossing the threshold, as is the 
custom. I was present and noticed something 
glistening in one of the rubbers. I made a 
hasty examination and found the shining object 
to be the letters in gilt, " Holy Bible," the Kurd 
having used the cover of my best Bible to fit 
his shoe to his foot. The book itself had been 
burned, but the leather cover was utilized as a 
patch for his rubber. 

Almost immediately after we had taken 
refuge in the mission compound the people be- 
gan to die off like sheep, from the combined 
effects of hunger, anxiety, wounds, and the 

The Shelter from the Storm 109 

fearful crowding. As I have stated, there were 
twenty-three persons domiciled in the little 
room we had assigned to us as sleeping quar- 
ters. As for myself I slept under an office 
table. Actual suffocation constantly threat- 
ened. It seemed to me as if the ground, the 
walls, the stones — everything in the compound 
— were poisoned. After a few weeks of this 
sort of thing I finally said to my wife one day, 
" Every one of us is going to die if we remain 
here in such quarters." The reader can im- 
agine how she looked at me. " But," said I, 
" there is a way of escape." She brightened up 
and asked, " What is it? " " Why," I replied, 
" to get out of this compound." " But where 
can we go?" she inquired; "they will cap- 
ture you." Now at this time those confined 
with us were dying by scores daily. I thought 
of a house across the way from our gate, be- 
longing to a rich man, Nazar Khan, a Chris- 
tian and a Russian subject. Nazar could not 
stay in his own house, but was located in a 
yard adjoining the compound. So I went to 
him and asked that he give me a room in his 

110 The Rage of Islam 

house. He was astonished to learn that I de- 
sired to live there, but after a long talk, and 
much thinking, I had come to the conclusion 
that it was the best I could do. He there- 
fore gave me permission to occupy a room. 
His Mohammedan servant, Haidar Ali, had 
remained quite faithful to his Christian mas- 
ter, the chief reason being, perhaps, that he 
had not been paid. But I think that after 
all he was a kind-hearted fellow. Almost 
every day Haidar Ali came to pay a visit to 
Nazar Khan, and upon his appearance that 
day I told him that I was coming to live in his 
house. He was amazed to hear that I dared 
run the risk. " Nevertheless, we will," said I, 
" despite the dangers." So the arrangement 
was made. We were to go very early in the 
morning, before dawn, when no one else was 
in the street. He was to leave the door open. 
We were to have some one watching from the 
roof for Turks, and when none were in sight 
we would run across the narrow street. I was 
to make a certain sign, whereupon Haidar Ali 
would open the door for us. The plan worked 

The Shelter from the Storm 111 

satisfactorily and we entered the house the 
next morning. 

It was a beautiful red brick building, but 
there was neither furniture nor carpet in it. 
We occupied a room on the ground floor with 
absolutely nothing in the way of contents. 
This room was paved with bricks and cement. 
Such was our future home. We took with us 
five or six pounds of bread only. We were not 
obliged to eat the bread from the Mohammedan 
bake-shops, a Mohammedan friend of mine sup- 
plying us with better. 

The weather was very cold, and we of course 
suffered greatly in our bare room. As a result 
my wife was suddenly seized with such a seri- 
ous illness that we did not expect her to sur- 
vive. What could I do? Where could I look 
for aid? I was greatly perplexed, for I dared 
not go into the streets to seek a physician ; if I 
ventured out I was certain to be murdered. 

At last I recollected that a physician, Doctor 

Sargis, was staying in a house near-by, and 

though not sure of finding the right spot, I 

conceived the idea of going over the roofs and 


112 The Rage of Islam 

endeavoring to communicate with him. So I 
went onto our roof to investigate, taking with 
me a small ladder, which I had found in the 
yard, in order to scale the higher roofs adjoin- 
ing. I reached the doctor's house in this 
manner, finding him asleep. From where I 
was I could not waken him without danger of 
being overheard by Turks, so I went round an- 
other way in order to call to him through the 
window. My effort was successful and the 
doctor came, ministered to my wife, and with- 
out doubt saved her life, as he afterward saved 
the lives of many others. 

The fourth day after this some one knocked 
at our gate. As soon as I heard the knock a 
terror seized me and I exclaimed, " Surely they 
(the Turks) have found out that we are here, 
and are after us ! " The children overheard 
me and began to cry. "Boys," said I, "just 
keep quiet for a minute." I then went to the 
gate and said, in the Turkish language, " Kim- 
di? (Who is there?)" The answer came, 
" Man-am (It is I.) " " San kim san? (Who are 
you?)" I called. " Man sanin dosti-yam (I am 

The Shelter from the Storm 113 

your friend.)" Who, thought I, is a friend, 
using the Turkish language at this time? So 
I did not open the gate, but ascended to the 
roof and looked down into the street. There, 
before our gate, was a Persian Mohammedan 
who had been many times at my house. I 
rushed down again and opened the gate. He 
entered and I quickly locked the gate behind 
him and conducted him to our room. He 
looked all around and, seeing us sitting on the 
bare floor, with no adequate clothing, inquired, 
"Where are your rugs?" I had had a large 
number of very fine Persian rugs in my home. 
I replied : " Surely you must know that every- 
thing in my house is gone; my home looted 
and burned ; our church destroyed." 

" Everything is gone ! " he exclaimed. 
" Yes," I replied, " everything, everything, ex- 
cept what you see on our backs." He looked 
at us in a most pitiful way and his eyes filled 
with tears. Then he rose, measured the room, 
and without another word went out. In the 
afternoon he returned, bringing with him a 
beautiful Persian rug that exactly fitted the 

114 The Rage of Islam 

apartment, also some bread, cheese, and beans. 
This man came almost every day for nearly 
four months, always bringing something in the 
way of food. " Thanks to the Lord," thought I 
many times, "the God of Elijah still lives." 
As it happened, his raven was this time a blood- 
thirsty Mohammedan. Yet he came each day 
to feed us, sent, I do not doubt, by the Father, 
who knows best how to comfort the distressed. 
During the dreary months that we endured 
the confinement of these narrow and uncom- 
fortable quarters I scarcely slept at all at night, 
and but little in the daytime. Throughout the 
nights I stood watch upon the roof, listening! 
listening! Each drop of my blood seemed 
alert, for I expected every moment that the 
Turks or Kurds would surprise, capture, and 
hang or kill us all. Many, many times, while 
on watch, I would see in the streets armed 
bands prowling about, looking into every 
nook and cranny for Christian victims. Often 
when a knock upon my door warned me, I 
would rush down the stairs, gather my wife 
and children together, and convey them to the 

The Shelter from the Storm 115 

roof, there to remain until the danger had 
passed. Pretty women were made slaves for- 
ever to Turkish lust; others were killed in the 
most horrible manner conceivable; yet death 
was preferred to the alternative of such degra- 
dation as was offered. 

Stand with me upon my roof. Below us in 
the compound is safety. There is lack of com- 
fort, lack of food, lack of everything essential 
to human happiness ; but it is a shelter. " A 
shelter in time of storm." Grateful expressions 
to God are heard from all around. These peo- 
ple are hungry, they are heavy-hearted, they 
are mourning, each of them, the loss of loved 
ones. They are in direst distress ; always their 
eyes are wet with tears. Hardly one who has 
not lost a part, or all, of his family! Indeed 
their position is beyond compare, one of despair 
and supreme misery. 

Yet running through it all is a note of sin- 
cere gratitude to God, that he has at least de- 
livered them from a greater evil. 

Looking from my roof we can see the distant 
tower of the Greek church of my home town. 

116 The Rage of Islam 

After Doctor Packard left Geogtapa with his 
refugees it was supposed that no Christians re- 
mained within the place. But a handful had 
hidden in the second story of a two-storied 
house, a place that could be reached only by 
ladders. This house was in so dilapidated a 
state that the Kurds had taken no notice of it. 
On that terrible night when the Kurds burned 
the best buildings in the town, the people in 
this house, terror-stricken, for the structures 
next door were in flames and the smoke pene- 
trated the apartment they were in, remained 
where they were. They had nothing to eat and 
dared not look out of their windows. Here they 
were confined for twenty-four hours, suffering 
greatly from thirst, and not expecting to escape 
at all. Some were in such desperate case that 
they drank their own water (urine). Forty 
thousand Mohammedans looted the place for 
six days and nights, securing immense quanti- 
ties of plunder. As I have said, our mission 
buildings were burned and everything that we 
had owned was stolen. 

Some of those that had been hiding in their 

The Shelter from the Storm 117 

own homes left in the night and took shelter in 
summer houses in the vineyards. As they had 
nothing to eat in these cold and drafty quar- 
ters, they dug into the snow and pulled up roots 
of grass, subsisting, in a way, upon these. 
Others fled to the near-by swamps and hid 
themselves in the mud, even covering their 
heads with mud, that passers-by might not see 
them. Yet others hid in wells. The local Cath- 
olic priest conveyed his flock and his family, 
wife and children, ( f o rCat hplic prie J s.t&,y 
in that country) to his church. The Kurds 
burst into the edifice and slaughtered most of 
the inmates at the altar. One or two of the 
children were not killed but were taken away 
to captivity. 

A lady, a relative of mine, escaped with her 
two daughters. Soon after, they were recap- 
tured, and the two girls were carried away to 
slavery. Their mother died. A neighbor of 
mine, in whose house the Russians had estab- 
lished a telephone, was soaked in oil and 
burned. A minister, more than eighty years 
of age, had his legs and arms sawed off. An- 

118 The Rage of Islam 

other minister was murdered in the most hor- 
rible and revolting manner while his wife was 
compelled to witness the foul deed from the 
roof of their home; she died from the shock a 
little later. On the road, while we were trying 
to reach the city, many women gave birth to 
children, right in the snow. How dreadful and 
how pathetic, where in frequent cases the 
mother would dig a little hole in the snow and 
place her infant therein, then walk on, often to 
fall and die by the wayside a few paces farther 
on! Scenes of this kind were but too numer- 
ous. And there were none to care for or assist 
these poor mothers ; all were obliged to look out 
for their own. 

Seven men, all well known to me, and all in 
well-to-do circumstances, banded together, de- 
termined to escape. They were every one shot 
down before proceeding more than a few miles. 
These are some of the pictures I see again as 
from my roof in the city I look out upon the 
horrors of the situation. 

Let us return now to the compound, to the 
sorrowing fraternity of Christians who have 

The Shelter from the Storm 119 

been fortunate enough to escape thus far. Here 
they are packed like sardines in a box, but one 
thing greatly appeals to them. Their thoughts 
are not centered on worldly affairs, but upon the 
death for which they pray, day and night, as 
a release from affliction. Before these sufferers 
had been long confined within the compound a 
kind of religious fervor took possession of 
them. So strongly grew the feeling that many 
lost their minds entirely. It was arranged to 
have preachers hold meetings in all of the/^ 
rooms, and when warm enough, to hold out-of- iQju<~v**+ 
door services as well. In fact, religious ser- < t 

'■ 'i U> 

tions, quite irrespective of creed, joined to- & it . ; (> 

gether ; Catholic, Nestorians, Greeks, Prot- 
estants. They held communion services to-^ JtMi*4~sp* 
gether. It was a real fraternity. 

One day some one suggested that certain 
days be set aside for fasting and prayer! As 
if every day were not an enforced fast-day. 
All were hungry all of the time ; most of them 
looked like walking corpses. 

vices were going on all the time now, the most 
interesting feature being that all denomina- 

120 The Rage of Islam 

What has happened out over the plain during 
this period? We shall see. 

On the twenty-fourth of February came the 
news of a most hellish massacre at Goolpashan, 
a Christian town. I doubt whether this tragedy 
has a parallel in any history. At the time of 
the attack upon Geogtapa, Goolpashan, located 
three miles to the northeast, was greatly upset. 
That town was supposed to be the wealthiest 
place, for its size, in the district. A group of 
its most prominent people went to the Turkish 
officials and Kurdish chiefs and paid them a 
large sum of money to keep their place safe. 
Several Turkish soldiers were sent to protect 
it. Meanwhile I had written to a number of 
friends there, and to most of our church-mem- 
bers, for we had a flourishing Baptist church 
in Goolpashan, asking them not to remain 
there, but to come to Urmia and abide with us. 
But they assured me that everything was all 
right, that a German agent there, Herr Neu- 
mann, whose wife had relatives in the town, 
was personally interesting himself in the pro- 
tection of its inhabitants. He would look out 

The Shelter from the Storm 121 

for their safety. Nevertheless I wrote again 
saying, " If you don't come yourselves, at least 
send on your wives and children." A few did 
so, but the majority remained in Goolpashan. 
As a matter of fact several of our Geogtapa 
people thought that Goolpashan was a safer 
place than Urmia. 

Well, things were quiet enough for a time, 
but on the night of February twenty-fourth 
a body of Kurds, Turks, and local Persian 
Mohammedans entered the town. The Turk- 
ish police began to resist their entry; these 
policemen were thereupon called aside and 
cajoled by the intruders; and shortly after- 
ward they left the precincts. The Turks and 
Kurds then came on to the city square and 
called upon all the men to meet them for a dis- 
cussion, as they were there to protect them and 
their families. Since, therefore, the newcomers 
meant to look out for their safety, it was only 
right that they, the new protectors, should be 
paid for their service. They were going far- 
ther south, they said, to fight, and asked each 
one to pay a certain amount. This was the 

122 The Rage of Islam 

first move; they drained the inhabitants of 
practically their last cent. 

" Now," said they, " we are in need of ropes 
for various purposes connected with war. 
Bring us what you can." A great quantity of 
rope was immediately furnished them. Then, 
with the aid of their rifles, the fiends herded 
the unarmed innocents in the center of the 
square, from which escape was made impossi- 
ble, and bound their victims' hands behind 
their backs. 

They next drove them into a graveyard about 
half a mile outside the town and shot and 
killed every single one. Then the bloodthirsty 
butchers returned, this time to wreak their will 
upon the defenseless women. 

What a black story is this! My pen trem- 
bles in my hand, and my eyes are dimmed as 
I write it. 

It was night. All the women and girls, some 
of the latter but seven or eight years old, were 
most barbarously treated. Little children 
though they were, many died that night at the 
hands of these monsters. Those of the women 

The Shelter from the Storm 123 

who thought it possible, tried to escape to 
Geogtapa. Naturally they dared not follow the 
straight path, where they would be sure to 
meet people, so made their way through rough 
country and swamps, finally reaching a small 
Mohammedan village, where they begged for 
shelter and protection, but were promptly re- 
fused both. After they had gone, scores of 
men disguised themselves, took a short cut, 
headed off the women, captured them, and did 
shame to them. 

Women whose ages ranged from seventy to 
eighty were repeatedly outraged with the 
younger ones. Those who have done these 
devilish acts have openly boasted of it since, 
exulting as they told of the numbers of their 
respective victims. 

The next morning one of the best men in 
Goolpashan, and one of the best Christians, a 
devoted friend of mine, and treasurer of the 
local Baptist church, was captured on his roof, 
robbed of his clothes, and immersed in icy 
water. He was then dragged out, beaten with 
a heavy horsewhip until the blood streamed 

124 The Rage of Islam 

from his body, then led away. Before his cap- 
tors had proceeded far some one shot him from 
behind, the bullet passing through his head and 
coming out of his right eye. His body was then 
thrown into a well and covered with bricks and 

The Christians of Goolpashan, who had put 
their trust in a German agent, found no fra- 
ternity between Persian Christians and Chris- 
tian Germans, so called. 

Once more let us take our places upon my 
little roof, behind the parapet. We hear music. 
It is a band playing, and we recognize the tune 
as " Die Wacht am Rhein." We learn that it is 
the Kaiser's birthday, and that the musicians 
are at the German consulate close by. They 
are having a celebration! Who are present? 
Germans, Turks, Kurds, Persian Mohamme- 
dans. Birds of a feather. What a combina- 
tion ! What a bunch ! What a community of in- 
terests! All plotting together to decide upon 
the most efficacious way in which they can de- 
stroy more Christians. They are drinking 
wines; the finest of champagnes; while our 

The Shelter from the Storm 125 

people, in close proximity, are suffering for the 
most meager ration of life's necessities. Drink- 
ing to the Kaiser's health, dancing adding to 
the merriment ! 

While this jollification is going on we look 
outside the walls again in another direction. 
The Turks have entered the French Catholic 
mission yard and seized some two hundred of 
its inmates. After beating them soundly they 
drive them into the Turkish consulate, a stone's 
throw from where we are living. Each day the 
friends and relatives will plead, and pay large 
sums for the release of these unfortunates. 
Some are released, but most are detained, 
promises being usually given that they would 
be let go the next day. 

It is early morning and I am at my station, 
watching from the roof. All at once I hear 
groans and cries of " Save us ! " A half-hour 
or more passes. Then I hear shots, perhaps 
fifty or more, in rapid succession. I shudder 
as I think of what these shots may portend. 
Daybreak comes, and I learn that their enemies 
have taken fifty of these men of the mission, 

126 The Rage of Islam 

stripped them, and with straps, sticks, and the 
butts of rifles, beaten and driven them along 
the road, like cattle, to Mount Gajin, near the 

With their hands tied behind them they are 
placed in rows and shot down. But three es- 
caped death; these dragged themselves to our 
mission compound, were admitted, and told 
their sad tale. They were soaked in blood. 
We learned that among the slaughtered were a 
Nestorian bishop and a Catholic priest. At the 
time of their burial it was found that besides 
other cruelties practised upon them, many had 
had their fingers chopped off, their ears cut off, 
their bodies so mutilated in some instances that 
they were unrecognizable. It is not of the 
professed Christians of your land that we are 
thinking now, Kaiser Wilhelm ; it is the sorrow 
brought upon those who respect the memory 
of those martyred Christians of Persia, not one 
of whom had fought, or dreamed of fighting, 
against Germany. How much of the responsi- 
bility for it are you and your people willing to 

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The Shelter from the Storm 127 

At Salmas eight hundred Christians were 
killed by Kurds as the latter were retreating 
from Khoi, where they had been defeated by 
the Russians. Some of these townspeople of 
Salmas were skinned alive, others left with 
the skin of their arms hanging loose in 

A seventeen-year-old girl remained at the 
side of her aged father when the rest of her 
family fled north from Salmas. The Kurds en- 
tered her house and killed her father. The 
brave girl, with a boy of about eighteen, fled to 
the roof, and from that point of vantage shot 
and killed the murderers of her parent. Then, 
fleeing from roof to roof until she came to the 
confines of the village, she took the road to Dil- 
man. She shot five Kurds who started in pur- 
suit. One followed her on horseback ; she shot 
his horse from under him, and he desisted from 
the pursuit. Continuing her way undaunted, 
she finally took refuge with a Karguzar, an 
official. The Moslems tried to persuade her to 
become a Mohammedan, promising her a rich 
husband. She replied that she would first kill 


128 The Rage of Islam 

the one who tried to make her change her 
faith, then destroy herself. The Turkish com- 
mandant sent for her, had her gun taken from 
her, but declared that she was much braver 
than any of his soldiers. She was allowed to 
return to the Karguzar's house, but the Turks 
soon sent word to kill her. The Karguzar hid 
her, and this plucky maid was saved later by 
the return of the Russians. 

The mother of our Bible-woman, Rabi Sara, 
was very aged. During the flight into Urmia, 
the mother was unable to keep up with the 
crowds, and had, at last, to remain by the 
roadside. Then her daughter, though not 
strong, took her old mother upon her back and 
managed to carry her until they reached a 
place of safety. Alas! Rabi Sara died sud- 
denly, from fright. How we have missed her ! 
She was so faithful. 

A poor woman, whose husband and son had 
both been killed, became insane. There was 
no fit place to keep her, so she was put into a 
small room under a stairway. Here she died 
two days later. 

The Shelter from the Storm 129 

A girl, whose father was a schoolmate of 
mine, was captured by Kurds, but managed to 
escape by jumping into a well, where, im- 
mersed to her chin for hours, she remained 
quiet until by good fortune she was rescued. 
She joined us in the mission compound. 

A woman with twin babies was so fright- 
ened that she left them and ran to a place of 
safety. Later the two little babies were found, 
cut to pieces. 

Many of the Christian dead were dug from 
their graves ; some had been buried for twenty 
years. The ghouls took the skulls, placed them 
on poles, and paraded the streets with them. 

A woman who was soon expecting to be con- 
fined, was sitting beside her tanoora (stove) 
with her six children and her brother gathered 
round her. They were attacked by Kurds, the 
children slaughtered before her eyes, and she 
herself then murdered. 

Hundreds of Christian people were killed 
and left in the snow for more than three 
months unburied. Many, found in this condi- 
tion round Geogtapa, had been eaten by dogs. 

130 The Rage of Islam 

For this reason the Geogtapa people paid a 
large sum for the mere privilege of burying 
the dead. 

It may seem strange, but during the time 
these horrors were being committed we were 
called upon to witness a wedding; in fact, two 
weddings took place during one week. 

Hakim (Doctor) Shimmon was a friend of 
mine. He had studied medicine in the United 
States and was also a citizen of that country. 
He fled to the mountains with others but was 
captured. He was asked to renounce his faith 
and become a Mohammedan, but in a manly 
way, and like a* true* Christian, refused. His 
captors told him that as he had been good to 
them they did not wish to kill him. He said, 
as did most of our people under like circum- 
stances, " There is no power on earth that can 
shake me from my faith ! " The demons then 
poured oil on his clothing, but before setting 
it afire offered him one more chance. He again 
refused. They then applied the torch, and 
while he was running about in agony from the 
flames they shot him several times. After he 

The Shelter from the Storm 131 

had fallen to the ground they hacked his head 
off. His body was found afterward, half-eaten 
by dogs. Thus this man received his martyr's 

In Geogtapa the wife and daughters of the 
old minister whose legs and arms were cut off 
with a saw were all murdered and mutilated 
beyond recognition. 

Some men were found with their eyes gouged 
out with knives. They were left to wander 
about for a time, then shot. 

Women were found with their backs broken 
from having been doubled up and thrust into 
an earth-oven. Pregnant women were cut open 
and the unborn babes taken from them. 

A man seventy years of age, who was con- 
fined to his bed through illness, was dragged 
from his couch and his mouth used as a toilet. 
Another, still older, was taken from his house, 
tied to a horse by a long rope round his neck, 
and the horse beaten to a gallop. His head and 
back were scraped almost clean of flesh from 
contact with the rough ground. Of course he 
soon died from the effects of this treatment. 

132 The Rage of Islam 

Men were made to stand in lines and bullets 
fired to see how many they would pass through. 
Others were laid in long rows, kerosene was 
poured on them, and they were set afire. A 
boy was found with his body perforated with 

One of the most dreadful things coming to 
the notice of the physicians was the treatment 
of the young girls. A great many no more 
than seven or eight years old died from various 
barbarities at the hands of their tormentors. 
I ift^. There were several Russian priests among 
us in the compound. A rumor was noised 


| | t about that the Turks intended to make an 
effort to capture them. Within a month or so 
' i most of these priests died from sheer fear. 

Some Christians were made to put their 
heads through the rungs of a ladder and were 
suspended over a well. Then their heads were 
cut off and dropped into the well. 

A sad case was that of the mother of a girl 
of twelve, whose daughter was being led away 
to a life of slavery. The mother protested and 
tried to save the child who was ruthlessly torn 

The Shelter from the Storm 133 

from her arms. As the daughter was being 
led away the mother created so much annoy- 
ance for the oppressors, clinging tenaciously 
to their garments, that they stabbed her twelve 
times, then left her, powerless to aid her child. 

Women with babies at the breast were almost 
always shot and killed, but usually the infants 
were left to starve to death. Women were 
stripped of their clothing, abused and mal- 
treated, then turned out into the cold air to 
perish, naked. 

In Geogtapa an aged woman found herself 
unable to keep up with the crowd, on account 
of her infirmities. Her husband and daughter 
remained with her. The Kurds overtook them, 
killed the old people, then as the daughter per- 
sisted in refusing to become Mohammedan, 
they murdered her also. 

Between Shim-sha-jian and Geogtapa, a 
distance of about three miles, one Mohamme- 
dan killed forty-three men, women, and chil- 
dren with his rifle. 

One of the missionaries left the city at this 
time and had been absent for three days when 

134 The Rage of Islam 

my wife espied him returning. She at once 
ran to his wife and told her the good news. 
An hour after the man's arrival they brought 
my wife a loaf of bread. When a member of 
a family has been for some time absent, and 
any one announces his arrival, it is the cus- 
tom to make a present to the bearer of the 
good tidings. In this instance the present was 
a loaf; and it was most certainly acceptable. 

Yet by no means let it be supposed that all 
of the Mohammedans were parties to these 
evil deeds I have enumerated. Indeed it gives 
me much satisfaction to record the fact that 
thousands of our people found refuge with 
Moslems who were friendly. The number of 
these good Samaritans is not small. Most of 
them were humble villagers, but some were of 
the highest caste. 

Again, there were others who took no part 
in the massacres but who, when entrusted with 
the care of goods, food, etc., afterward claimed 
the articles as their own property. A certain 
minister, having been plundered of all of his 
possessions was cared for at the house of a 

The Shelter from the Storm 135 

Mohammedan neighbor. Imagine his astonish- 
ment when he ate his own food, from his own 
dishes, and afterward slept in his own bed, 
but no longer his. 

Sixty Christians were commandeered by 
Turks to perform a certain piece of work. 
They were employed to carry telegraph wire 
from Urmia to Turkey, across the borders. 
On the outward journey they were unmolested, 
but upon the return trip, in a lonely valley, 
they were all shot down. By what might seem 
almost a miracle three of the number were not 
so badly wounded but that they made their way 
back to the city again. In this way we learned 
of the occurrence. 

Relating another incident an eye-witness 

In Kala, of Ishmael, was a gruesome sight. A group 
of seventy-two Christians were murdered there. Six 
months afterward we were able to get to the place. 
Some of the bodies were in fair condition, dried like 
mummies ; others had been eaten by wild beasts. Some 
had been dragged about, as was evident from cuts in 
the skin. The majority had been shot. The ground 
was covered with cartridge-shells. The scene was some 
distance from Kala, in a rugged and rocky gorge. 

136 The Rage of Islam 

Ada, one of the larger Nestorian towns, suf- 
fered most severely. It is quite a distance 
from Urmia. It was surrounded by Sunni Mo- 
hammedans and attacked in the most savage 
manner. A part of the inhabitants escaped 
into Russian territory, while others were 
hidden by Moslems who kept them and later 
compelled them to accept the Mohammedan 
faith and to give their daughters to Moham- 
medans. More than a hundred young men 
were killed there. A whole company were 
made to stand in line, and the curiosity of their 
oppressors satisfied as to how many could be 
killed with one bullet. There was in the town 
of Karajaloo a fine young fellow, over six feet 
tall, who was a model Christian. He had been 
to America, was in fact baptized in Chicago. 
From him they demanded a large sum in cash, 
and because he could not pay it over imme- 
diately, stood him up against a wall and riddled 
him with bullets. Even a Bible in his pocket 
was shot full of holes. 

The Greek Orthodox bishop was unable to 
leave when the Russians withdrew. He was 

The Shelter from the Storm 137 

kept for a while by some Mohammedans who 
planned to deliver him over to the Turks. They 
told him, one day, that it was impossible for 
them to keep him any longer, that he must find 
another place. They tried to convince him that 
they feared the Turks. There was nothing for 
him to do but to leave, which he did. His 
former guardians thought that they knew what 
road he would take and where he would seek 
shelter. One Friday afternoon he was cap- 
tured by Turks. I was watching from my roof 
at the time and saw every detail of the pro- 
ceeding. The bishop was hiding in a church 
garret, behind a parapet, and when he made an 
attempt to escape was stopped by an askar 
(Turkish soldier) who raised his gun and 
threatened to shoot if the bishop attempted 
to run. Thus he was taken. It was reported 
that he had more than two thousand dollars in 
gold on his person, and that was taken from 
him at once and a demand made for ten thou- 
sand more. After a long imprisonment and the 
payment of this ransom he was allowed to go 

138 The Rage of Islam 

More than two thousand of those who fled 
to Russia died, either upon the road or after 
their arrival, from the effects of the hardships 
they were forced to undergo. When the rich 
merchants of the towns saw the Russians pre- 
paring to leave they brought all their money 
to the missionaries and then fled with the Rus- 
sians. It was with this money that the mis- 
sionaries were able to buy bread and save many 
of the poor people from actual starvation. 

The Christian town of Ardeshai was at- 
tacked. A great number of its women, to es- 
cape capture and worse, fled to the icy salt 
waters of Lake Urmia, for Ardeshai is situated 
upon the borders of the lake, and immersed 
themselves to the neck. Here they were dis- 
covered and all shot, as well as some eighty- 
nine men of the town. 

Our private physician, Doctor Lokman, who 
was sent by a missionary to a certain house 
to ascertain if there were typhoid cases there, 
was captured by askars and obliged to pay a 
fine of a thousand dollars. He was then re- 
leased, but died soon after, probably from the 

The Shelter from the Storm 139 

effects of the fright. He was one of the most 
prominent Christians, and very influential with 
the Persian officials. 

Within the compound things are going from 
bad to worse. There is no room for all to sleep ; 
in a church having a seating capacity of six 
hundred, four thousand souls are crowded at 
one time. They are dying by scores now ; some 
days thirty, some fifty, some even more. Very 
few children between the ages of one and eight 
survived. The food consisted almost entirely 
of dry bread. There were no Christian bakers, 
and the Mohammedans frequently mixed all 
sorts of dirt with their dough ; even steel shav- 
ings and dust. Neither was the bread well 
baked, but the people ate it. Soon sickness of 
the alarming kinds started ; typhus and measles 
of a malignant type. One-fourth of the twenty 
thousand within the compound died of starva- 
tion and disease. Few could lie down in such 
crowded quarters, so slept, perforce, in a sitting 
posture. Those who could no longer endure the 
fetid air, the stench, the cramped position, 
would go outside and lie on the bare bricks 

140 The Rage of Islam 

and stones, thinly clad as they all were, ex- 
posed to the damp and freezing atmosphere. 

Thus it was while outside the Turks and 
Kurds were constantly engaged in their hellish 
work. " How long, Lord, how long? " 

Those who died could not be removed to the 
cemeteries. Most were buried in the com- 
pound, rich and poor alike, in great ditches. 
In one instance, at least, seventeen hundred 
were buried in one ditch. Nevertheless, per- 
mission was finally granted to inter a few out- 
side the walls. 

Of course there were no coffins; all were 
laid, just as they died, in rows. When a deep 
ditch was covered at the bottom, earth was 
thrown in to the depth of a few inches, then 
another row commenced on top of the lower. 

The pest of vermin became a torment. On 
warm days all would sit in the yard and pick 
the beasts from one another's heads and bodies. 
One morning when I entered the church I saw 
lice, like colonies of ants, on the people and 
on the stones. The smell almost knocked me 

The Shelter from the Storm 141 

The Turks demanded two thousand pajama 
suits for their army; shirts and drawers. We 
had to furnish them. 

Reader, how would you enjoy making 
pajamas for Turks and Kurds who had mur- 
dered your parents or children, ravished your 
daughters, starved, beaten, and tortured your 
families? But we had to do it. And we did. 

We always had a number of watchmen in 
the compound. One night a certain one of 
these was found asleep at his post. The next 
morning he was tied to a tree and a placard 
placed above his head bearing the inscription, 
" Unfaithful Watchman." This as a warning 
to others. 

Take another look from my roof. Now we 
see, just across the city gate, a gallows with 
seven nooses. Many times those nooses were 
placed round the necks of Christians. I think 
that I can hear their groans and see their strug- 
gles now. In the same direction, but nearer 
by, stand the Russian mission buildings, now a 
headquarters for Turkish officers. I can best 
express the truth by naming it a hall and dun- 

142 The Rage of Islam 

geon of lust. The Russian church in that group 
is used as a lavatory. 

The following incident was related to me by 
a clergyman: After the return of the Rus- 
sians a group of Christians accompanied them 
to investigate conditions in a number of the 
ravaged Christian villages. My informant was 
with them. " To my amazement/' said the 
narrator, " I saw the forms of some of the 
people impaled upon sharpened stakes thrust 
into the rectum and penetrating their entire 
bodies. Death by this means is a lingering 
one. The bodies were so firmly fixed, in some 
instances, that the stakes could not be with- 
drawn; it was necessary to saw them off and 
bury the victims as they were. Several of 
these were women. 

But we will look no longer either into the 
compound so full of misery, or at the city 
roundabout. We will look into the hearts of 
the Christian people, whose fortitude and faith 
is not broken. We do not understand why 
God has permitted these things to come to pass, 
and again we cry, " How long? " but we know 

The Shelter from the Storm 143 

that Christ shall be triumphant in the end, and 
that the Cross is more powerful than the Cres- 
cent. From our roof we see the spire of the 
desecrated Russian church upon the distant 
hill, its cross glittering in the sun. For long 
the Turks have tried to destroy it by shooting 
at it, but it stands fast, and is prophetic of our 
deliverance ! 





Our Deliverance 

While we were all hoping that the Russians 
would soon return and set us free, we were 
amazed, one day, to see a large Turkish army 
entering the city. There were in the neighbor- 
hood of twenty thousand of them, with eight 
thousand animals carrying food, ammunition, 
and baggage. They were joined, shortly, by 
about the same number of Kurds. With this 
army of forty thousand they intended to in- 
vade Caucasia. They marched through Urmia 
and on north to Salmas, where they attacked 
the Russians at a point near Dilman. Here the 
Turks were badly defeated and retreated into 
Turkish territory again. 


148 The Rage of Islam 

When we saw this vast aggregation of troops 
how we were disheartened! And when we 
learned of the result of the battle at Dilman 
how our hopes revived ! The Russians followed 
them for nearly a hundred miles into Turkey, 
and the entire force of forty thousand was 
almost annihilated. All, with scarce an ex- 
ception, were either killed or captured. 

From the moment when the last of this army 
of our enemies left the confines of our city 
we were more than ever on the alert for news ; 
more than ever on the lookout toward every 
point of the compass. What anxious thoughts 
passed through our minds! We knew nothing 
as to the location of the Russian forces; noth- 
ing as to the intentions of the Turks and their 
auxiliaries. We could only wait, as we had 
waited so long, praying for relief. 

We often wondered whether any of the 
American people knew of the strait we were 
in? Probably not. They were ten thousand 
miles away, and communication uncertain if 
not absolutely cut off. We had thought of the 
possibility of a British army coming to our as- 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 149 

sistance from the south; but the Britons were 
eight hundred miles from us, engaged in a 
most desperate struggle. 

Are we all to perish here? Will no help be 
sent from anywhere? Looking! Always look- 
ing! At the time when the Russians had pre- 
pared to leave us one of them had said, " We 
shall return in one week." A week! One 
month, two months, four months, had passed, 
and still they came not. Instead, when the 
dreary period of waiting had made us feel that 
the limit of endurance had been reached, a 
great Turkish army sweeps through the city, 
jubilant over the prospect of defeating our 

Now we had, among ourselves, given a nick- 
name to the Russians. We called them " The 
blue-eyed people." At last, there came a morn- 
ing when, as I was stationed at my accustomed 
post upon the roof, a man who was watching 
from another roof close by put his hands to 
his mouth, trumpet fashion, and called to me. 
I raised my hand as a signal for him not to 
speak until I had reconnoitered to see if any 

150 The Rage of Islam 

Kurds were about. No one was in sight in 
the street in front of our building. I signaled 
again and asked, "What is it?" "Have you 
heard ? " came the answer, " the blue-eyed peo- 
ple are only fifteen miles from here ! " Can it 
be true? Shall I believe it? All day long I 
remained on the roof, impatient, and saying 
to myself over and over again, " Only fifteen 
miles away ! " The next morning the same 
man appeared again, and in accents of jubila- 
tion called out to me, " They are only ten miles 
away now ! " 

Peering through a roof drain-pipe I now 
saw long lines of Kurds and Turks hurrying 
through the streets, traveling west and south, 
evidently in retreat. Many were running; 
many of those on horseback galloping furi- 
ously. A ceaseless stream of humanity was 
soon passing, filling every street. This rout 
continued without cessation for twenty-four 
hours. When morning came again at last, I 
was early at my post, anxiously awaiting the 
arrival of the bearer of the good news. He 
came, and called out : " They will be here by 

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From Storm-center to Liberty Land 151 

two o'clock to-day \ " I looked over the para- 
pet; not a soul was in sight; everything was 
quiet. " Surely," thought I, " something is 
about to happen ! " The hours passed more 
slowly than ever now ; I was in a fever of im- 
patience. Noon came, and lo! my gladdened 
eyes beheld the gates of the compound opened 
wide, for the first time in five months. The im- 
prisoned and starving people began to come 
out. Oh, what a sight ! I knew most of them. 
Many there were who had been prosperous, 
rich; who had had lovely homes, beautiful 
palaces, some of them ; whose wives dressed in 
silks. Now all, rich and poor alike, were clad 
in the filthiest rags of direst poverty. I can 
never forget the awful scene! The faces. 
The marks of hunger and suffering, many of 
them ineffaceable. The new, long-absent look 
of hope, mingled with the shadow of fear yet 
present. Doubt, hope, keenest anxiety, wonder, 
uncertainty; a dozen mingled feelings depicted 
on those emaciated, fearful countenances. 

Out they poured, a tumult, a torrent of 
human souls. But more than five thousand 

152 The Rage of Islam 

of this sad army did not pass through those 
gates. No. Under the earth they lay, in the 
loathsome ditches where they had been buried ; 
victims of the curse of Islamism. 

All now impatiently waited for the arrival 
of the Blue-eyed People. About one o'clock I 
joined the throng in the streets. I leaned 
against a wall and watched closely the city 
gate. Suddenly it opened and twenty-five blue- 
eyed Cossacks rode through. 

No pen could describe that welcome ! No one 
could put into words the overwhelming flood of 
our feelings. There are no words to express 
them. Some of our people actually prostrated 
themselves on the ground and kissed the hoofs 
of the horses ; then rose and hugged and kissed 
the big boots of the riders until they were fairly 
wet with tears. Almost the only thing said 
to the Cossacks, at first, was, " Why did you 
not come sooner? " 

And the Cossacks! When they saw the 
dreadful plight of us poor wretches, their own 
eyes shed the drops of sympathy, and instantly 
they opened their bags and boxes and gave 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 153 

their last crumb of bread; they opened their 
pocketbooks and gave their last cent. May- 
God bless those Cossacks! In their actions 
we once again saw displayed the better side of 
humanity. Soon after that the last of the 
Turks and Kurds vanished. Immediately the 
people departed for their homes in the towns 
and villages round about. When they arrived 
most of them found neither home, nor town, 
nor village. Nothing but heaps of smoldering 
and blackened ruins; heaps of ashes. 

Four days after the Russians arrived I was 
standing in the street watching the soldiers 
when I espied, amongst the crowd, two of my 
schoolgirls. I called to them and said, " What 
are you doing here, girls? " They had walked 
six miles to see me. One of them, who was 
rather bashful, said to me, stammeringly, " My 
m-m-m-mamma sent me." "Why?" I in- 
quired, and she replied, " My mamma said, ' Go 
to your teacher and ask him if he can let us 
have five cents/ " I hung my head in a kind 
of shame, for all that I had in the world was 
a twenty-cent piece ; that is, a Persian coin of 

154 The Rage of Islam 

that value. However, knowing the girl's father 
and mother, and remembering what a nice 
home they had had, I put my hand in my pocket 
and handed her the twenty cents. 

She took the coin and went away. I noticed 
that this girl's feet were badly swollen. This 
came from eating grass. In the town where 
they were they had found absolutely nothing 
else, and had lived on grass and its roots. 
From this cause many died, through lack of 
proper, or rather, through improper, nourish- 
ment. I have myself seen women picking out 
the oats from the excreta of horses, and eating 
them. Scores came to me daily asking for a 
cent. In every case I had to turn away in grief. 
I said to myself : " I cannot stay here any 
longer; I must get away somewhere." As I 
had no money at all, I endeavored to borrow. 
For a month I made constant efforts to secure 
a loan. If it had not been wartime I could have 
obtained one thousand dollars on short notice, 
but now the Mohammedans refused to let me 
have any money. However, after a long-con- 
tinued search I was able to borrow thirty dol- 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 155 

lars in American money. For this I had to 
agree to pay one hundred per cent interest. I 
would have paid one thousand per cent, so 
desperate was I. 

I took the money and next day rented a car- 
riage, and started on our journey for America. 
It was a hot day in June. We headed for Cau- 
casia, by no means sure that we should ever 
get there. With my wife and children I went 
north, round the end of the lake, then east, 
then south again until we arrived at the city 
of Tabriz, a great town, second in size to 
Teheran, the capital. Here we have an Amer- 
ican consul, Mr. Gordon Paddock. As I am an 
American citizen I went to him for aid. When 
he saw me he looked at me with a curious ex- 
pression on his countenance. I wondered why, 
but soon found out. When I had last seen him, 
seven years before, on my way from the United 
States to Urmia, I had stopped in Tabriz to 
register at the consulate, as every citizen is 
supposed to do. I was then in excellent physi- 
cal condition, and well dressed. Now I had 
greatly lost in weight, and the coat I wore had 

156 The Rage of Islam 

been my coat, my quilt, my bed, for about six 
months. I need say nothing as to my other 
articles of apparel. When I understood why 
he scanned me curiously I said : " Never mind, 
Mr. Paddock. I am on my way to America and 
want some money. I wish you would cable 
to my friends for some." He was very kind 
and did as I requested. 

And now came further annoyances. We 
waited nineteen days for a reply to my request 
for money, when an answer came from the De- 
partment of State saying that before anything 
was done proof must be furnished that I was 
an American citizen. It afterward happened 
that instantly on receipt of my first cable my 
friends had sent money for me to Washington. 
Another cable was sent. I waited nearly a 
month, and still no response. Our sufferings 
and hardships in Tabriz were great, but I shall 
refrain from going into particulars. I became 
discouraged at last; apparently my citizenship 
was challenged. I told my wife that we 
must leave Tabriz. " Our friends," said I, 
" may have sent us money, but in all probability 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 157 

it is delayed or being held in Europe some- 
where, on account of the war." We had learned 
something, though not a great deal, of the 
status of affairs in the world, while in Tabriz. 
Of course, during our confinement in Urmia, 
and for a considerable time before, we had been 
able to ascertain nothing. 

Well, I told my wife to get ready and we 
would attempt to walk to Russian territory, 
a distance of about a hundred miles. As we 
had no baggage we started early the next morn- 
ing on our long and wearisome trip. I thought 
that Mr. Paddock should know of our leaving, 
so I wrote a note telling him of our contemplated 
departure. There being no postal system, I 
delivered the note at the consulate myself, leav- 
ing it with one of the servants at the gate. 
Then my wife, myself, and our three children 
started for Russia, on a hot July morning. But 
we did not go very far. 

As soon as Mr. Paddock rose that morning 
he went to his office and read my letter. At 
once he summoned a servant and despatched 
him with a communication for me, telling the 

158 The Rage of Islam 

man, " Go and find Mr. Shahbaz, wherever he 
is, and give him this." The messenger over- 
took me on the road and handed me the fol- 
lowing : 

July 20, 1915. 
My dear Mr. Shahbaz : 

I received your note and was on the point of writing 
you. I wish to announce the good news that a tele- 
gram has reached me, last night, from the Department 
of State, instructing me to pay to you the proceeds of a 
draft on the Secretary of State for five hundred dollars. 

I am sending the draft to the bank, and will be able to 
give you a check for the amount if you will call this 

Sincerely yours, 

Gordon Paddock. 

As soon as I had read the letter I told the 
servants to go; that we would follow shortly. 
We then sat down by the roadside and wept. 
In an hour or so we retraced our steps to the 

If we had gone on we should have been killed, 
for our route lay through several Mohammedan 
villages, and at that time they still thirsted for 
Christian blood. But thanks to God and to our 
good friends we were saved from this danger. 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 159 

I went to the consul and received the money, 
and the first thing thereafter I gathered my 
family together and purchased for them a 
square meal. What a feast ! I cannot tell how 
many pounds I gained by that meal. 

When we had finished eating I said to my 
wife " Now we will ride." There being no rail- 
ways at that time, the best means of conveyance 
was by way of the Russian post. At the post 
station we came upon a big, strapping fellow, a 
Russian, standing beside the gate. " Well," said 
he, " where do you come from? " " Urmia," I 
answered. " Oh," he exclaimed, " and were you 
in the city when it was besieged by the Turks? " 
I answered in the affirmative, whereupon he 
looked again at our shabby clothes and said, 
" Then I suppose you lost all your property? " 
" Yes," I replied, " everything." He looked at 
the children then and remarked that we were 
fortunate to have saved our children. " Yes, 
indeed ! " I said, " but we lost one." He wanted 
to know all about our troubles and the story of 
what we had undergone, and while I was tell- 
ing it he shed tears like a child. Then he 


160 The Rage of Islam 

pointed to my wife and asked who she was. I 
told him, whereupon he wanted to know if she 
was a Persian. " No," I answered, " she is an 
American." He was greatly astonished, and 
could not get over the idea of my wife's na- 
tionality. Then he invited us to his house, and 
when we got there related our story to his wife 
and family. All showed the utmost sympathy, 
and cried over our misfortunes as if they had 
been their own. 

Finally our host asked, "Why are you 
here?" I explained that we wanted to go to 
Russia, hoping that means might be found 
there for in some way reaching the United 
States again. " Oh ! " said he, " then you want 
tickets to go by the post? " " Yes," I answered. 
So he rose and went to his desk and filled out 
the tickets and handed them to me. " Now," 
said I, "how much are these?" He lifted up 
his hands and replied in choked utterance: 
" Nothing ! Not one cent." Then this kindly 
man ordered a beautiful carriage for us, and 
sent one of his very best servants with us as 
driver. He also bought for our consumption 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 161 

both fruit and other eatables ; then came down 
to the station to bid us farewell. Ah! Those 
Russ ians are a kind -hearted ^people ! 

On the way to the borders of Transcaucasia, 
Russian territory, we were forced to witness 
more terrible scenes nearly throughout the en- 
tire journey. Another eye-witness thus de- 
scribes them, in brief: 

We saw the great Erivan plain (Transcaucasia) 
black with a slow-moving mass of humanity. The refu- 
gees must have numbered close to two hundred and fifty 
thousand, wandering aimlessly about in the torrid heat. 
Children were dying by the hundred, the frenzied 
mothers sometimes flinging their children over into the 
fields in their helpless, mad grief, so as not to witness 
their dying agonies. Cossack transports picked up 
scores of little children left by the roadside, carrying 
them in their wagons, and sharing with them their fru- 
gal rations. We were compelled to close the windows 
of our compartment in the train, to shut out the sounds 
of wailing and moaning. 

We too saw thousands of Christian people 
lying in the fields and everywhere, dying for 
lack of bread. Every place was choked with 
refugees from everywhere and anywhere. 
What a hell this war has brought to the world ! 

162 The Rage of Islam 

It was the same at all of the Russian railway 

The first important Russian city we came to 
was Tiflis, a place of between four hundred 
thousand and five hundred thousand inhab- 
itants. There were two Baptist churches there, 
one of them in charge of pastor Bacile Pavlof, 
whom I had met at the meeting of the Baptist 
World Alliance at Philadelphia. Mr. Pavlof 
had heard of our capture, and also heard that 
we had been massacred, but not feeling certain 
regarding the information had gone many 
times to inquire about us in the Persian quar- 
ter of Tiflis, leaving word that the people there 
should notify him if they heard anything of 
Mr. Shahbaz. Therefore, as soon as we arrived 
Mr. Pavlof heard of it and hastened to visit 
us. He and his wife were kind to us in every 
way. But that is a matter of course, for the 
Russians are certainly a hospitable people. 

He invited me to preach for him the next 
Sunday morning and evening. I told him I 
was in too shabby a state to occupy his pulpit 
and stand before his people. He said he would 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 163 

see what he could do to rectify that trouble, 
and in a little while sent me a shirt. This gar- 
ment resembled a nightgown, and was several 
inches too large for me, but I put it on on 
Sunday morning and went to the church and 
preached for Mr. Pavlof . I found a large con- 
gregation ready to listen to a simple gospel ser- 
mon. Many in the audience were very much 
affected, especially when I touched upon our 
sufferings in Urmia. On Monday and Tuesday 
we were invited to the homes of several dif- 
ferent people, Russian Baptists. 

We left for Petrograd in a few days, Mr. 
Pavlof having written in advance to some of 
our people, advising them of our intended visit. 
On reaching the capital city I called at the Bap- 
tist mission house and met Madame Yosnacov- 
sky and some brethren who asked me to preach 
for them in the tabernacle the following Tues- 
day evening? Mr. Fetler, their pastor, had 
been banished, together with his assistants. 
The church was left, like a flock without a 
shepherd, to maintain themselves as best they 
could. On Tuesday night I found a very good- 

164 The Rage of Islam 

sized congregation awaiting me. At the close 
of the services I was asked to shake every one 
by the hand. Then I was requested to preach 
for them again on Saturday, which I did. 
There I met Mr. Reading, pastor of the Baptist 
church at Riga. 

He spoke very good English. At the Satur- 
day meeting the house was packed to the doors. 
The singing was excellent. At the close of 
the service the question arose as to whether 
I should address them on the following Sun- 
day. It was against the law for a minister to 
come from one city to another to preach, and 
I, coming from Persia, a foreign country, 
would surely be arrested, they thought, by the 
authorities. After the matter had been ex- 
plained to me I told them that if I was arrested, 
the worst the officers could do was to put me 
out of the country, and as I wanted to go away, 
I should be glad to have my fare paid. Seeing 
that I was not afraid they smiled and expressed 
themselves as glad to have me stay and preach. 
So on Sunday morning I met a large congre- 
gation, though I had to speak through an in- 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 165 


terpreter. A very fine-appearing man and his 
wife had been waiting for some time to receive 
baptism, so it was arranged that I should bap- 
tize them, which I did, and after the baptismal 
service we had communion. At the opening 
of the communion service one of the deacons 
rose and asked if there were any strangers in 
the congregation who were Baptists and not 
members of that church and who would like 
to commune with us. Twenty-seven Russian 
soldiers stood up, five of them officers. Every 
one of them testified. Some of these soldiers 
had come five thousand miles from Siberia to 
engage in the war. It was, I think, the most 
impressive communion service I had ever at- 
tended. At its close every one came forward 
and shook my hand and saluted me with the 
holy kiss, in the manner, I suppose, that the 
brethren greeted Paul on his journeyings. 
Only men took part in this salutation. 

I was asked to preach again on the ensuing 
Tuesday, but had made my arrangements to 
leave for Archangel to take steamer for New 
York. I shall never forget the hospitality of 

166 The Rage of Islam 

our good Russian friends. (When freedom of 
conscience is attained by the people, thousands 
of churches will spring up everywhere, for the 
Russians are a most religious people.^) 

We left Petrograd at nine o'clock of an 
August evening, and after a two days' journey 
arrived at Archangel. There we took passage 
in the steamer Dwinsk (since torpedoed by a 
German submarine) and set sail. We went 
along all right for ten or eleven hours when the 
vessel came to anchor in the strait connecting 
the White Sea with the Arctic Ocean. In an- 
swer to our inquiries as to the reason for our 
stopping we were informed that the channel 
ahead was filled with mines, and that we could 
proceed no farther. We thought that it was 
perhaps better to stand a siege of Turks and 
Kurds than to go down to the bottom of the 
White Sea. We became quite nervous over the 
prospects, for we might be sunk at any moment 
by a floating mine. But after six days of lying 
at anchor we perceived ships coming toward us 
from the northward, and discovered them to be 
British trawlers. God bless the British navy! 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 167 

The next morning the trawlers ran the 
channel and exploded seven mines, an operation 
which we witnessed with interest. The trawl- 
ers returned the way they had come and we 
proceeded on our course, going farther and 
farther into the north until the coast of Green- 
land, at latitude seventy-four, only sixteen de- 
grees from the pole, was visible ahead. We 
went to the north of Iceland, and off the eastern 
coast of Greenland changed our course for a 
southerly one and headed for New York. 

At last, on a certain morning, as we neared 
the western shores there suddenly burst into 
view, out of the mists, a vessel with the Amer- 
ican flag flying from her masthead. It was to 
me the first indication of the proximity of the 
land of my adoption, the native land of my wife 
and family. My home ! I shouted aloud. Gone 
now, truly and beyond recurrence are those 
dreadful days of physical torment and mental 
agony. To those aboard who expressed sur- 
prise at my antics, for I danced about and be- 
came very noisy, I fear — I insisted that there 
were ample reasons for my actions. I felt that 

168 The Rage of Islam 

I was indeed an American, and for all time. I 
had returned to my home. When we landed 
(after having been just three months on our 
journey) and I once again set foot on American 
soil, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving. After 
ten months of endurance of an earthly hell, our 
feet were once again planted on the shores of 
an American heaven. 

Second Exodus 

Not long after we left Persia for the United 
States war conditions made it necessary for the 
Russians again to evacuate Persian territory. 
(But this time they notified those dwelling in 
the vicinity of each garrisoned town, so that 
nearly ^very one had warning of the proposed 

And so, another great exodus began. It is 
said that the scenes of the second flight were 
worse than those of the first. The aged, the 
sick, and those with young children, were terri- 
fied at the prospect. Yet day after day, and 
night after night, a procession thirty-five miles 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 169 

long painfully crept northward, under the fierce 
rays of the sun in a country where it never 
rains in summer and where the heat is intense. 
All classes, rich and poor alike, were reduced 
to a common level of misery. The majority 
started with huge bundles upon their backs. 
These they were soon forced to cast away, or to 
reduce in size to lessen the weight. Many, un- 
accustomed to rough traveling, were able to 
make but poor progress; therefore groups of 
lingerers soon lined the roadsides, groaning 
over aching bones and swollen feet. It was 
hard to walk in shoes, while without shoes the 
sun blistered their feet until they bled. They 
were like unto the Israelites in the desert, with 
no Moses to guide them. 

Again the little ones and the aged were left 
behind to die. Again hunger, thirst, and weari- 
ness reaped their harvests of thousands. Not- 
withstanding, after the first day the procession 
moved onward with a rapidity surprising under 
the circumstances, driven by the fearful goad 
of terror, for the Kurds had again swarmed 
down from the hills and opened fire on the 

170 The Rage of Islam 

rear of the columns. The August heat was so 
intense that multitudes took to mountain fast- 
nesses, subsisting upon grass and roots. 

Attack on Nestorians in the Mountains 

Here is an account of an attack upon Nesto- 
rians whose dwelling-places were in the Kur- 
distan range, in Turkish territory — made for 
no other reason than because they were Chris- 

The town of Kochanis, in which the prelate, 
Mar Shimun, resided, was entered first. Prac- 
tically every one the enemy met was killed. 
Fortunately many escaped into the interior, 
including a few who, until their ammunition 
gave out, fought the Turks and Kurds for two 
days and nights, then fled, at night, to the plain 
of Salmas, Persia. 

Meanwhile the patriarch's home in Kochanis 
was looted and burned, and churches, there and 
elsewhere, some of them fourteen hundred 
years old, were battered down by the powerful 
artillery of the Turks. The defenders, armed 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 171 

for the most part with flint-locks and home- 
made ammunition, resisted bravely, but their 
efforts were futile. 

For forty days they carried on an unequal 
warfare against tremendous odds, until they at 
last took refuge, with their families, on the top 
of a high mountain, in the Tal country. The 
patriarchal family were sheltered in the 
famous church of Mar Oudishu; others who 
had been able to effect an escape, settled round- 
about, thus making a big camp. The Turks 
and Kurds, after having destroyed the Chris- 
tian towns in the valleys below, carrying away 
the crops and plundering everything, endeav- 
ored to drive the fugitives out. Near the 
church a small fountain gushed from a rock, 
but the supply of water was hardly sufficient 
for the more urgent needs. The people re- 
mained here for nearly three months, never 
removing their clothing, always on the lookout 
for night attacks. The few sheep they had 
brought with them were eaten up ; they had no 
salt at all; soon hunger and sickness made 
terrible ravages. 

172 The Rage of Islam 

Mar Shimun, with a handful of followers, 
stole out by night and made his way to the 
Russian encampment at Salmas, Persia. He 
was received with great distinction, but the 
only aid the Russians could afford was an offer 
of some rifles. These were accepted and Mar 
Shimun and his party again set out for the 
Turkish interior to rejoin their people. These 
were relieved in time, and Mar Shimun left 
for the plains again, this time accompanied by 
twenty-five thousand ; later ten thousand more 
joined their fellows. Starvation and disease 
again decimated their ranks; more hundreds 
and even thousands were added to the long 
lists of the dead. 

But I must cease from penning further ac- 
counts of these ravages and murders. The list 
is endless. One more instance of the enormity 
of ruthlessness will suffice: In one district of 
forty towns only seventeen persons were known 
to have escaped. Those who remain pray for 
death as a release; and this statement applies 
to entire districts, so exhausted are the re- 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 173 

The Terror Renewed 

And now, for a third time, as I write these 
closing pages, comes the news of a further, 
and probably more appalling, list of disasters 
to those regions. It is as if the Evil One him- 
self, in a last and more desperate effort, were 
utilizing all the powers of hell to break down 
and destroy the faith of the Christian. 

With an immense army, equipped with all 
modern implements of warfare, Turkish and 
Kurdish forces have recently overrun the whole 
of northern Persia and the Caucasus. 

As is well understood, a s soon as the Bolshe- 
viki came into power they caused the with- 
drawal of Russian troops from all those sec- 
tions. The telegraph wires were cut, and aside 
from the information, filtering through by de- 
vious channels, that Mar Shimun has been 
killed, no news of any kind has been received 
for five months, fit appears that all Moham- 
medans — Turks, Kurds, and Persians alike — 
have joined together in the determination to 
wipe out the Christians. \ Nor should I be sur- 

174 The Rage of Islam 

prised to hear, at any moment, that not a Chris- 
tian remains alive in all that region. 1 

Will there ever be peace? Will there ever 
be safety in this fair and fertile land, now 
under the dread shadow? God alone knows. 
Yet my faith is firm, and it is my belief that a 
great, though as yet uncomprehended, good, 
will come out of all this war and disaster. 
There is an Unseen hand that guides the 
destinies of humanity, and the result will make 
for a vast betterment of the world and a re- 
vival of true Christianity. 

And while other devastated countries are 
making plans to rebuild and restore their de- 
stroyed towns and villages, I hope that the 
Christian church will rally its forces, and put 
into action a great missionary movement to 
carry the truths of the gospel to the mighty 
hosts of Europe and Asia alike/not excepting 
the misguided and misled people of Germany, 
wofully in need of the lesson of Christian 

1 On August twenty-first a cablegram from Mr. Gordon Paddock was 
received from Kasbin, stating that practically all of the Christian popu- 
lation of northwestern Persia was in flight southward and eastward, 
bound for Teheran, a distance of five hundred miles. 

* » 

From Storm-center to Liberty Land 175 

charity, that they may see the futility and 
falseness of the doctrines they have been taught 
by their rulers, j 

I wish, in closing, to tender my most heart- 
felt thanks to those Americans who have gen- 
erously contributed in aid of the remnant of 
the Christians in Persia, in answer to appeals 
made through various channels. \ Yet I hope 
that all may realize that there are to-day many 
thousands in Persia still suffering from lack 
of the barest necessities of life. ) 



Ada, 136. 

Aghas, 31. 

Ahriinan, 10. 

Anjumans, 38. 

Archangel, 165. 

Ardeshai, 138. 

Assyrians : ancient, 10 ; cogno- 
men of Nestorian Christians, 

Atar, 10. 

Azerbaijan, 3, 22, 24, 57, 61. 

31 ; endurance of, under per- 
secution, 34 ; exodus of, 69 ; 
factions of, 26 ; helplessness 
of, 33 ; incidents in persecu- 
tion of, by Kurds, 74ff., 
passim.; left unprotected by 
the Russians, 62 ; send relief 
fund, 42. 

Communion service, an impres- 
sive, 165. 

Cossacks, 39, 58, 152, 161. 

Cyrus, favoring the Jews, 11. 


Baptist World Alliance, 162. 
" Blue-eyed People, The," 149. 
Bolsheviki, 173. 

Dar-el-Safa, 3. 
Dilman, 147. 
Diza-taka, 73. 


Carduchi, 14. 

Catholics, Roman : among Nes- 
torians, 23 ; missions of, in 
Persia, 25 ; religious fervor 
of refugee, 119. 

Chaldeans, 23. 

Christians, Persian : at mercy 
of Mohammedan landlords, 
32 ; attitude of, toward Rus- 
sians, 40 ; character of, 8, 

England and Persia, 35, 37, 39. 
Enver Pasha. 61. 
Erivan, plain of, 161. 

Fetler, William, 163. 
Fire, adoration of. 5, 10. 
Fire-worshipers, 5, 11. 
France and Persia, 35. 





Gate of Pleasure, 3. 

Gebres, 11. 

Genghis Khan, 21, 55. 

Geogtapa, 6, 62, 73, 92, 05, 
116, 120, 129, 131, 133. 

Germany incited the Moham- 
medan world, 151. 

Gomates, 11. 

Goolpashan, 75, 91, 116, 120, 
123, 124. 

Greek Church, the, 41. 

Hackery, 20. 
Holy War, 51. 
Hormuzd, 10. 

Kala, 135. 

Karaini Agha, 95. 

Karajaloo, 136. 

Khoi, 61. 

Kochanis, 23, 170. 

Koran, 45. 

Kurdistan, 13, 22. 

Kurds : attack of, on Geogtapa, 
76, on refugees, 169 ; char- 
acter of, 8, 13, 19; habitat 
of, 15, 19 ; language of, 15 ; 
lovers of pillage, 17 ; monog- 
amists, 18 ; neighbors of 
Nestorians, 22 ; of the Sun- 
ni sect, 16 ; origin of, 14 ; 
outrages by, 94, 115, 117, 
120, 122, 123, 125, 127, 130, 

172, 173 ; raid of, on Terga- 
var, 57 ; rapacity of, 33 ; 
stayed by American mission- 
ary, 96 ; plundering, 92 ; 
tools of Turks, 68, 124; 
women of, 18. 

Lokman, Doctor, 138. 


Magi, 10, 11. 
Marl, 23. 

Mar Oudishu, 171. 

Mar Shimun, 23, 170, 172. 

Mashruteh, 37. 

Mejliss, 39. 

Miandoab, 61. 

Missions in Persia : more effec- 
tive conduct of, possible, 27 ; 
Protestant, 25 ; Roman 
Catholic, 23, 25; Russian 
Orthodox, 26. 

Mohammed Ali, 38. 

Mohammed Bek, 73. 

Mohammedanism, sects of, 12. 

Mohammedans : attitude of, to 
Christians, 27, 31, 38, 42 ; 
outrages by, 94 ; practices 
and superstitions of, 42 ; 
priesthood of, 36, 68, 97 ; 
some, friendly, 134 ; tools of 
Germany, 51, 124. 

Mongols, 54. 

Moravians, earliest Protestant 
missionaries in Persia, 25. 

Mullahs, 36, 44. 

Muzaffar-ed-Din, 36, 38. 




Nasr-ed-Din, 3G. 

Nestorlans : attack on, in the 
mountains, 170 ; designations 
of, 24 ; habitat of, 20, 22 ; 
history of, 21 ; incident il- 
lustrating faith of, 34 ; num- 
ber of, 25 ; origin of, 20 ; re- 
ligious fervor of refugee, 
119 ; so-called Chaldeans, 23. 

Nestorias, 20. 

New York, 165, 167. 


" Orientals to Orientals," 28. 

Outrages by Kurds and Mo- 
hammedans, 94, 115, 117, 
120, 125, 127, 130, 139, 142, 
172, 173. 

Packard, Doctor, 95, 116. 
Paddock, Gordon : American 

consul, 155 ; cablegram from, 

174 ; letter of, to Mr. Shah- 

baz, 158. 
11 Paradise of Persia, The," 3. 
Parsees, 11, 25, 38. 
Pavlof, Bacile, 162. 
Persia : anarchy in, 38 ; and 

foreign diplomacy, 35, 37 ; 

Christian population of, 25. 
Petrograd, 163, 165. 
Poles, the, saviors of Europe, 

Protestant missions in Persia, 

Protestants, religious fervor 

of refugee, 119. 

Refugees, sufferings of, 103ff., 
pussim, 161, 168, 171. 

Riga, 164. 

Russia : agreement of, with 
England as to Persia, 38, 
39 ; death of refugees in, 
138; plot of Holy War 
against, 51. 

Russian Orthodox Church : mis- 
sions of, in Persia, 26 ; Per- 
sian Christians join, 41. 

Russians : attempt to drive, out 
of Persia, 58 ; champions of 
Persian Christians, 41 ; hated 
by Mohammedans, 46 ; in- 
tervention of, in Persia, 39 ; 
kindness of, to refugees, 152, 
159 ; presence of, desired by 
Christians, 40 ; program of, 
in Persia, 35 ; relieve Urmia, 
150 ; religiousness of, 166 ; 
second exodus of, from Per- 
sian territory, 168 ; struggle 
of, with Kurds, 59 ; " the 
blue-eyed people," 149 ; with- 
draw from Urmian section, 


St. Thomas Christians, 23. 
Salmas, 61, 127, 147, 170, 172. 
Saracens, 54. 
Sarikamysh, 61. 
Sassanian dynasty, 11. 
School for Mohammedan girls, 

Scythians, 10. 
Sena, 15. 



Shah-in-shah, 35. 

Shams-ul-la-Bek, 91. 

Shedd, Doctor, 98. 

Sheiks, 16. 

Shiahs, 12, 45. 

Souj-Boulak, 15, 61. 

Stars and Stripes, a protection 

from Kurds and Moslems, 95, 

Sunnis, 12, 58, 136. 

Tabriz, 39, 58, 61, 155-157. 

Tal, 171. 

Teheran, 36, 39, 155, 174. 

Tergavar, 57. 

Thaddeus, 23. 

Thebarma, birthplace of Zoro- 
aster, 5. 

Thomas, apostle, 23. 

Tiflis, 162. 

Timour Lang, 21, 54, 55. 

Turko-Balkan War, 42. 

Turks : outrages by, 94, 115, 
117, 120, 122, 123, 125, 127, 
130, 172, 173 ; partners of 
the Hun, 51, 55, 57. 

75, 91, 103-128, passim.; de- 
scription of, 6, 7 ; evacuated 
by Russians, 61 ; exodus of 
Christians from, 72 ; inci- 
dents of experience in, dur- 
ing the persecution, 105-154 ; 
location of, 35 ; march of 
Turks and Kurds through, 
147 ; modernized, 41 ; Rus- 
sian troops in, 40 ; school for 
Mohammedan girls in, 42. 

Urmia, climate of, 4. 

Urmia, Lake, 4, 61, 138. 

Urmia, plain of, 3, 22, 55. 


Wazerabad, 92. 

Women, treatment of, by Turks 

and Kurds, 94, 115, 117, 

122-143, passim. 

Yosnacovsky, Madame, 163. 


Urmia, city of : agents of Ger- 
many in, 51 ; American mis- 
sion compound in, 104 ; a 
refuge for Christians, 57, 


Zab, 23. 

Zend-Avesta, 10. 

Zoroaster : birthplace of, 5 ; 

traditions concerning, 10. 
Zoroastrianism, 6, 10, 11. 

DS Shahbc.z, Yonan Hoormur: 

315 Tbe rage of Islam